Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o has opened the lid on his tempestuous relationship with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola while he was still plying his trade with the Catalan giants at the Nou Camp.
The 33-year-old Cameroon forward has revealed how he reacted when Guardiola told him to move like a striker, he replied the 43-year-old Spaniard saying “you are not normal”.
Eto’o went further by tagging Pep a cowardly manager, who didn’t have the ‘courage’ to confront him, he was never a ‘great’ player, and he doesn’t respect the ethos of football.
Eto’o played under Guardiola at Barcelona during the 2008-09 season but says the manager barely spoke to him, but rather chose to use other players to communicate.
Although Guardiola and Eto’o were at odds with each other, the forward still scored 30 times in his final season in Catalonia.
During the season Guardiola only spoke to Eto’o on a handful of occasions.
Eto’o named three occasions when Guardiola spoke to him that season, and he said that the manager told him he should move to Uzbekistan and also stripped him of the No 9 shirt, which he considered “a total lack of respect”.
One was when he wanted Eto’o to speak to Yaya Toure, who didn’t want to talk to Guardiola either. Another was to tell him how to perform as a striker.
Eto’o explained: “Pep told me how to move like a striker. I told him: “You’re not normal!” The true story is that Pep didn’t respect the things in football.”
Eto’o told BeIN Sports: “I first of all reminded Guardiola that he’d never been a great player. He was a good player, that’s true. I told him. As a
coach, he had proven nothing. He came in and didn’t even know the story of the dressing room.”
“Guardiola has never had the courage to say things in front of me. He passed by the players. Xavi told me they wanted me to stay but I had to talk to Pep. I say “never, if you do not respect me, I do not respect you”.
“He shook hands with me when I was at Inter and I played against Barca, but this was just for the cameras and TV.
“Behind the scenes before the match, he did not greet me.”