Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eto'o Brute? Meet the Man to Slay Jose; the Special One May Be a Fan, but Barca's Vengeful Star Is Plotting His Demise

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eto'o Brute? Meet the Man to Slay Jose; the Special One May Be a Fan, but Barca's Vengeful Star Is Plotting His Demise

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

BARCELONA strut back into Stamford Bridge tomorrow, adorned with Ronaldinho, the best footballer in the world, and Lionel Messi, who is going to be the best footballer in the world. Yet the biggest irritant for Chelsea may be the man who just thinks he is the best footballer in the world.

Samuel Eto'o constantly voices such a high opinion of himself and such a low opinion of Chelsea that his presence amid all the bad blood swilling around this epic collision should prove about as soothing as a blocked artery.

Indeed, considering the last time we saw him in SW6 he was raging about being racially abused by a steward - a claim dismissed by the club and never proven - and departed by dismissing Jose Mourinho as "shameless", you could argue he stands as the most potent symbol of the enmity between the two clubs.

And there is the funny thing. For we are led to believe that he is the one Chelsea have targeted as t heir summe r 'must-have'.

Eto'o himself, when blithely insisting he isn't interested in a move, claimed: "one of those crazy presidents" called Roman Abramovich has already put [pounds sterling]41million on the table to prise him away from the Nou Camp.

What, a big bucks move for the bloke who this time last year greeted Barcelona's Champions League exit with the declaration that "Chelsea going through is a disaster for football. If they win the Champions League, it would make you want to retire."?

Then there was the Cameroonian's fond adieu to Mourinho in the tunnel last February. "Mourinho has a way of expressing himself which is not particularly pleasant," he told L'Equipe. "I told him so to his face, saying 'I know you are a great person and a great coach but, in truth, you are just a shit'."

Oh yes, and we must must not forget his generous views on some of his would-be team-mates. "I am the best African player, not Didier Drogba, all the world knows that.

What has Drogba won?" he taunted before last year's corresponding fixture.

To this evident fondness for Chelsea, we can add Eto'o's other firestorms this past year - spitting at an opponent in a league match, publicly calling Real Madrid "bastards" and clashing bitterly with Pierre Wome after his Cameroon team-mate's missed penalty cost them a place at the World Cup Finals.

All of which begs the question: if Chelsea's fans don't fancy Eto'o - and the weight of opinion on club chat sites suggests most believe he would be more trouble than he is worth - why would the club want to pursue a player who appears to boast a runaway mouth, shows such disdain for his prospective employers and comes armed with an enormous chip on his shoulder?

Well, here is why.

Because currently there is no more coruscating , deadly striker in the world. …

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