Chelsea new boy Samuel Eto’o has revealed in an interview with The Sun that he once had a “tense” relationship with manager Jose Mourinho, but confessed that he is pleased to link up with Mourinho once again at Chelsea.
The 32-year-old had come under fire for once stating that he would “rather sell groundnuts” in his village than play for a “pathetic team like Chelsea”, during Mourinho’s first stint at the club.
The ex-Barcelona striker stated that he was misquoted and went on to clarify his comment stating that he never wanted to play for a team with Mourinho at the helm, not Chelsea, and has since mended fences with the Portuguese coach.
“I was talking about Jose, not about Chelsea,” he said. “Before meeting at Inter, we didn’t know each other personally, so our relationship was tense. I even said one time that I’d never play for a club where Jose was coach.
“But God knows best. He wanted to show me that I was wrong and today Jose is a friend. Now he’s my coach again. It’s a real pleasure to team up with him once more and join a great team. Jose has a real clear idea. He talks straight and it’s really important in this business. He’s sincere and straightforward.
“When it comes to Jose, I can’t pick out only one quality because he’s as good on the pitch as off it and this is rare for a manager. He’s one of the best. He got in touch. I realised there was an opportunity at Chelsea and things moved very fast.”
The Cameroon international shot down claims that he joined Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala for the money, he went on to state that he wanted to be a success at Chelsea.
“Does a rich man get tired of being rich? All I’ve ever wanted is to be No. 1,” he added. “And to be the best, I must want to win and work really hard. I want it badly. The day when I stop being hungry for winning will be the end of my career.
“When I went to Anzhi, people said it was because of the money. But it wasn’t — it was for the challenge. Now I’m back, people are asking me if I’m still at the peak of my career. The challenge at Anzhi was to bring a team from the bottom to the top, and that’s what I did.
“At Chelsea, I will play with proven and established players again. It’s a revamped team but with the same skill and fighting spirit that Chelsea are famous for.”
Eto’o started his youth career with Real Madrid and has since played for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Anzhi Makhachkala and Chelsea.