Posted on July 28, 2009
Inter Milan new boy Samuel Eto’o has rubbished suggestions he has ever had a problem with new coach Jose Mourinho.
Eto’o was unveiled to the press on Tuesday afternoon after completing his switch from Barcelona on Monday night and vowed to propel his new team to European glory.
Reports suggest the Cameroon striker, who fell out of favor with his past two coaches at Barca, could be hampered in this by a fractious relationship with Mourinho.
However, Eto’o has denied he has issues with the Portuguese boss and insists he never insulted his team’s style of play following a Champions League match between Barca and Chelsea.
“I never said those words that were attributed to me,” he said. “There is also a tape which proves it and, in any case, that was after an intense game.
“Now I am happy to be here, for me it is a great honor to play for a coach like him.
“It has been years that I have been trying to play under Mourinho and I have never managed it.”
Mourinho also laughed off suggestions the pair do not see eye to eye, insisting they have very similar personalities.
“I have met Samuel six times in three years, and I never cared to know if he really said something not very nice about me,” said the Nerazzurri coach.
“Why? Because he is like me: after losing an important match he doesn’t go home happy.
“The year after this game I wanted to take him to Chelsea, but I wasn’t allowed to.
“I am very happy to have him with us and I’m not talking only as Jose Mourinho but on behalf of the whole squad.
“Now I am happy, I have the right squad to work in the best of ways this season.”
Eto’o has signed a five-year contract with Inter as part of a ‘swap’ deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic move the other way.
Inter will also receive 45million euros but the 28-year-old, who only had a season left on his contract with Barca, has shrugged off suggestions this proves Ibrahimovic is the more highly rated of the two.
“Ibra is a great player but I am Samuel Eto’o and my past and my victories talk for me,” said Eto’o. “I don’t like parallels being drawn.
“I believe the victories I have earned until now can contribute to giving my name the right value.”
Eto’o scored 125 goals in 144 games for Barca, firing them to a string of titles, including three leagues, two Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey success, in his five seasons at the club.
The 28-year-old is grateful for his time at the Nou Camp and has now vowed to propel Inter to similar success.
He said: “I want to complete my goodbyes to my ex-team-mates at Barcelona and those who accompanied me in my adventure at Barca, where I spent very happy years, regardless of the problems I had linked to the profession, and where I met people who helped me arrive where I am today.
“I’m leaving Barcelona with my head held high. I am convinced that each team has to write their own story, now I hope to write Inter’s.
“It would be great to win the Ballon d’Or but first I’m thinking about the team’s interest and not my personal ones.
“My Ballon d’Or at the moment is the scudetto.”
Inter, who have lifted the Serie A title the past four seasons, are desperate to win the Champions League.
Having won Europe’s most prestigious competition three times with Real Madrid and Barca, Eto’o would love to do the same with his new club.
“With Barca we won the Champions League after many years of disappointment and the fans went delirious,” he said. “I think that winning a Champions League with Inter would have the same effect.
“That’s an added motive. I will do everything to succeed.”
Eto’o has spent his entire career in Spain since leaving Cameroon in 1997, playing for Madrid, Leganes, Espanyol, Mallorca and Barcelona.
However, he expects he will adapt easily to the Serie A style.
“It’s true I have always played in Spain but I have great experience of international matches,” continued Eto’o. “I left my country, Cameroon, and have become a citizen of the world.
“Here in Serie A there are big players because great players are in teams where they know they will be able to win things.
“I am here because it is a very competitive league.
“It’s true Ibra and Kaka have left but there are lots of great players in Italy and I am convinced I have made the best choice.”