Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o talks about the reasons for his departure to join Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan that won the treble on his arrival.
Eto’o undoubtedly had some of his best days with the Spanish side having scored 130 goals in 199 appearances. Surprisingly, following a successful 2008/09 campaign with Barcelona after being named La Liga’s top scorer with 30 goals aiding the Catalan side to win the treble: the League title, Champions League and the Copa del Rey, Eto’o was still let go by the club.
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Eto’o was involved in a swap deal that saw the two great strikers being switched, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the Camp Nou. Mourinho also brought Wesley Sneijder from Real Madrid along with Diego Milito and Thiago Motta from Genoa which led Inter to have the most successful year in their history as they went on to win a historic treble.
Former Internazionale defender Marco Materazzi opened up about Mourinho’s struggles when it came to helping Eto’o shine in Italy after his departure from Barca following a falling out with coach Pep Guardiola.
“Eto’o had won the treble the previous year [with Barca]. Motivating him was not easy,” Marco said.
Source Mundo Deportivo
Eto’o formed a sensational partnership with Milito as together the pair scored 34 goals to help Inter achieve this historic achievement. What’s even more special is that Eto’o won two consecutive trebles with two different clubs under two great coaches, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
“It was very different: Inter had been waiting for the Champions for 45 years: getting to such a special and hungry place and winning it immediately seemed like a unique task, a dream.” said Eto’o.
The decision to leave Barca following a very successful season is no easy feat with many fans wanting a more insider view of the broken relationship with Guardiola. When asked if his departure was caused as a result of his disappointments with Pep, the Cameroon international said,
“Yes, but in reality I already knew that I would have to leave, I was already talking to several clubs, but that message from Materazzi slowed down any other ongoing negotiations. I felt that Inter was the right path.”
The message Eto’o is referring to is from Marco Materazzi, who Samuel considers as a brother,
“This is how Materazzi became my brother. The history of his text message is known: a certain Materazzi writes to me” If you come to Inter, we will win everything “, I do not have that number on the agenda and I ask him to Albertini: “Is it yours?” It was yours. Something like this had never happened to me in my entire career and that message had a great weight in my choice. “
But Materazzi was not the only reason for his choice of Inter as the destination with Mourinho also playing a big role as Eto’o confirms that a simple action from Jose was enough to make the decision final.
“Very simply, he sent me a photo of Inter’s shirt with the number 9 and he said It’s yours: it’s waiting for you.”
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are undoubtedly two very successful managers with a special place in the hearts of footballing fans around the world as they are often linked with a love-hate relationship. The two shared their time training the youth at La Masia following which began a legendary rivalry as they often coached rival teams like Barca and Real Madrid or Manchester City and Manchester United.
These were the words of Mourinho when Inter reached the finals of Champions League against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid,
” You don’t play a final, you win. Either we die in the field and take the cup to Milan, or we die because we do not return to Milan. Let’s go back and take that Cup with us.”