Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o has spoken about his fractious relationship with former coach Pep Guardiola in an exclusive interview with beIN SPORTS. Eto’o, 38 now plays with QSL side Qatar Sports Club was less than complimentary to Guardiola who moved on the Cameroon international to Inter Milan after helping Barca lift a domestic treble including the Champions League title.
"Pep has lived his whole life in Barcelona, but in the years I spent in Barcelona, he didn't understand the squad. He didn't live the life of our group."
Rumours of a rift between the pair were rife at the time as Guardiola had a preference to play Leo Messi often at the expense of the striker, and Eto’o was clear to Guardiola that he was the key man in attack for the side."I said to Guardiola, you'll apologize to me, because it's me that will make Barcelona win, it's not Messi.”
“It was the situation back then. Messi would come later, but you can ask Xavi, Iniesta and others, that was my era.”
The air was soon cleared between player and manager, with Guardiola asking forgiveness from his striker. “It was me that made Barca win, and Pep would ask me for forgiveness."
Although still issues remained between player and manager, and Eto’o revealed his shock at finding that Guardiola wanted to sell him, despite scoring 30 league goals the previous season and scoring in the opening goal in the 2-0 Champions League victory over Manchester United.
“My lawyer at the time told me that the club had put me up for sale on the transfer market. I said really? He said yes, at Guardiola's request.”
Despite the clear frustration from Eto’o who had admitted that his relationship is now cordial with Guardiola, the striker admits that the move away from Barcelona was a huge boost to his career and that Inter Milan got the “best deal in football history.”
"It's clear today, that move, and the opportunity that Pep gave me has gone down in history because it permitted me to be an even bigger part of football history by going to Inter. He allowed Inter to strike the best deal in football history."
Eto’o did go on to win a second consecutive domestic treble at Inter under boss Jose Mourinho playing a decisive role in the run to lifting a second straight Champions League title.