Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o is “very annoyed” at manager Jose Mourinho for dismissing him as a goal-scorer and making light of his age.
Following news of Mourinho’s private comments that were made public on Monday, Eto’o spoke with Cameroon coach Claude Le Roy about the incident. According to Le Roy, the striker is not happy with his manager’s words.
“I had him on the phone just before I came on screen, and he’s very annoyed,” Le Roy told Canal+ show Talents d’Afrique.
“Actually, Mourinho went to see him before he saw the pictures and told him to not believe everything that was going to be said. And that he had said nothing about him. But I can tell you that Samuel didn’t like it.”
On Monday, details of Mourinho’s private conversation came to light with the Chelsea boss saying: “Will we win the title? No, we don’t have any scorer. Samuel Eto’o? He is 32-years-old, maybe 35, I don’t know.”
Supposedly unbeknownst to Mourinho, the subject conversation was filmed by Canal + during what the manager said to be a private and light-hearted conversation with the head of Hublot watches at a sponsor’s event. Mourinho was livid over the incident ahead of his side’s crunch Champions League tie with Galatasaray on Wednesday.
“I think you should be embarrassed as a media professional because, from an ethical point of view, I don’t think you should be happy – not you, but a colleague – is able to record a private conversation and make it public,” he said. “You should all be a bit embarrassed because it’s against the ethics you have in your work. From an ethical point of view, it’s a real disgrace.”
Canal +, however, sees the story differently. “These are not stolen images,” a spokesman for the French TV station said. “The camera wasn’t 10 meters away, it’s not on zoom,” the spokesman continued, and “[y]ou could see the red light and he was clearly aware he was being filmed.”
The Chelsea manager denied that his words fractured his relationship with Eto’o. Having managed the striker at Inter and now Chelsea, Mourinho said Eto’o had “no reason to be upset” because the act of bringing him to Stamford Bridge proves his love for the player. In addition, Mourinho explained that he is not a manager who makes fun of players and “because if there are managers in the world who really defend their players, I’m obviously one of them.”
Whether Le Roy’s take on the issue is an accurate reflection of Eto’o’s feelings remains to be seen but scrutiny promises to be high during today’s Champions League clash.