Pep Guardiola has been criticised in every possible angle by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose connections with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho are well-known. He has now been joined by Samuel Eto’o, who has labelled the Bayern Munich manager as a ‘coward’. It is quite remarkable admission by Eto’o given that he last played for Guardiola in the 2008-09 season.
Eto’o was one of the high-profile names to leave the club (Ronaldinho and Deco were the others) after the arrival of Guardiola. The Cameroonian, who is becoming a key figure in Chelsea’s season, has revealed his relationship with Guardiola and the reasons for his Barcelona exit. According to L’Equipe, he said:
“You know the press and the TV. There are those who are favourites and those who are not. I was one of the latter. That was my role, but I had a very important role in the dressing room where I could say anything to anyone, looking them straight in the eye.
“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.
“I didn’t want to speak to Guardiola until he had apologised. I spoke to him two times. Pep wanted to give me lessons on how to be a striker, but he was a midfielder. 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.”
Ibrahimovic played for Mourinho at Inter Milan and he recently said that he would be ‘willing to die’ for the Portuguese. His attack on Guardiola seems valid since the striker was ousted from the Camp Nou after just one season. It is believed that the deal (to buy and sell the Swede) cost Barcelona more than £40 million.
In a sporting sense, both these strikers are excellent and can be rightly considered as among the best in the world. Yet, they have also shown a touch of ego (it is much more in Ibra’s case!) in the past. It remains to be seen if these comments are genuine or just another ploy from Mourinho to destabilise Bayern Munich – one of Europe’s feared opponents right now.
Eto’o scored 30 goals in 36 matches in his final season at Barcelona. He also scored in the Champions League final that year.