Skip menu

Main menu

Content menu

Top of page


Link to related content


23.06.2007 13:00

"Rijkaard is the best coach who there is"

Sandra Sarmiento

Samuel Eto’o believes that Frank Rijkaard is the best coach in the world and that he is already looking forward to having a great campaign next season.

During the club’s recent trip to South Africa, the Cameroonian forward reflected on last season and looked forward to the next one in a frank interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat. The striker spoke openly about a whole range of matters.

You must have been delighted to have arrived to such a warm welcome in South Africa...

"They cheered all of us. I think that Barça is more than about one player and they received us all in a special way. It shows that Barça breaks down frontiers. I am happy because I am from this continent and I am proud that my brothers can see myself and my team-mates in the flesh. Also, those that were not lucky enough to see the game in the stadium, will have felt the sensation of being close to us."

Is this trip any consolation after the blow that the team had last Sunday?

"I do not think it is like that. There is nothing you can do to help forget last weekend except to ensure that next season we have a great campaign. Anyway, we will always know how close we came this year."

How would you sum up the season and, above all, the run-in?

"I do not want to talk about the league only. In general there were things that we did not do well and now we must focus on rectifying all those things that did not go well and improve them before next season.

The team looked all set to move to the top and stay there, but in the end they could not. Why did things go wrong at the decisive time?

"In life things can happen that you cannot explain and now we just have to look ahead to next season. We have a chance to have another great year because we have an exceptional squad and we know we can win things once more. Everyone has to improve on what went wrong this year."

What things did not go right?

"I think that the directors, the coaches and the players all know what we have each done wrong. We do not have to come out and say whether it was this or that, we simply have to improve the situation and I will be the first to do that."

Joan Laporta has talked about lack of commitment among the players. Do you agree? Do you understand why he would say this?

DSC00570.JPG"The president is responsible for everyone at the club, including the players. He said what he thought and I am not going to argue with him. The only thing I will say is that this season has finished and we can no longer do anything to change what happened. The only thing we can do is to improve on things next term. For that reason we will have to battle and, above all, have the desire and ambition from the first day that we step back into the club. We want to rediscover the desire to do great things, to win titles and to make the children happy when they come here to see us."

People are talking about the application of the new set of rules...

"At every club there is an internal code of conduct. What has happened is that we had been lucky enough to have a great coach who is very calm. Each club has their own system and we have been fortunate because there are coaches who are very hard and who react differently to certain situations, like we have had throughout the season. In general I think that they believe it will be good for the squad and it is normal that in any club where everyone has their own way of doing things there is an internal code of conduct."

Do you think that Madrid were better than Barça?

"If they won, then they have been the best"

As simple as that?

"I think that whoever wins the league is the best."

Have Madrid's celebrations, which attacked you personally, bothered you?

"I was waiting for that because I made a mistake two years ago. It was obvious that it would happen. I did not hear things directly, but people have told me about it. I was expecting it and now it has finished. It is all part of the game."

With your injury, has it been one of your hardest seasons?

"It has been my most difficult year. Now I want to rest for a few days and then I will ensure that I am ready for next season. I really want to be back out there and play like I did in my first two seasons here. I played three or four months of the season and, although it was not all bad, I could have done things even better. It is not only about the game either. My reference points are my first two seasons here and I want to build from those. My only desire now, and it will be the same when we all return to pre-season training, is to be fit and ready and to be able to enjoy playing alongside m team-mates again."

Do you feel that you have made any mistakes?

"We all make mistakes. Not because I was right or for how things turned out. I think that we all have to share the responsibility. I am as much to blame as the next person. I at Barça to take all the good things and all the bad too and I cannot hide when things wrong or always come out when things are going well. You have to assume your responsibility and that is why we play for Barça, the best club in thw world. I have things to blame myself for in all this, just like everyone has to."

Do you think that the team missed your goalscoring?

"No. What I think is that we are very good and that we have believed things that we have been told by others. We have a magnificent squad. We have the best player in the world in Ronaldinho. We have Messi, who will be as good one day. We have a great goalkeeper, one of the best defences in the world, then there is Xavi and so on. We have also been lucky to have had players that have not always had the chance to play all the time, but too have been great. But I think that maybe we all listened too much to the praise we were receiving, everyone telling us how good we were. We are very good, but as the coach ahs said to us before, if you do not work hard then you will not win games."

Why do you think that people constantly talk about problems between you and Ronaldinho?

DSC00567.JPG"It will always be the same. I understand the media, but any fights we have are like those between a husband and wife because we always reconcile our differences and make up because I need them as much as they need me. What happens is that they always need to create characters. there is the outspoken one, the good one, the bad one, th ugly one, the one who is prepared...and that is what has happened to me. But I am happy because Ronnie and I know the truth and it does not affect either of us. If someone does not have confidence in a team-mate then he cannot talk to the other person, but Ronnie and I are always talking to each other about things. We know that we have an important role at the club and that we have to give more than everyone else. That responsibility is ours. Hopefully, that will change next season for the good of the team, but I have a feeling that things will always be like this.

"What really did hurt quite a bit was when they tried to say things were bad between me and the coach. It was partly my fault because there are times when you want to use a word and you put in another one instead and everyone is ready to pounce. But have absolutely no problem with the coach. I am delighted that he is the coach because I think that he is the best there is. I really want to stay here now. Some months ago it was not so clear and I said something. Now it is clear and I think that when the desire is there and when all the people that I see that want us to succeed I have no thoughts about moving to somewhere else. I know that there have clubs that have wanted to sign and I want to thank them because they have appreciated how I play, but now my desire is to stay with FC Barcelona for many years to come and feel very happy."

Why were things not clear earlier on?

"When I picked up my injury I really wanted to have a great season. I started well, but then I spent a long time away from team-mates. I think that it did not help that I spent so long away from the club and stopped seeing my colleagues. When I came back I felt strange, like it was a new squad, but little by little I found my place again and everything returned to normality."
“Rijkaard is the best coach who there is“

To view this content you need the latest version of the Flash Player

Many suitors
A lot of clubs were looking you, but yesterday the president told the world that you are not for sale. Did you need to hear that?

"There are two main things in football; what is said internally and what is said publicly. The most important thing is what we say internally. I was the first person to make a mistake; because we could have we could have sorted everything out internally. This is what I will be careful of next year and I will make sure that everything is kept inside and that there is no chance of things leaking out. This should help a lot to make us return to where we were one or two years ago. I have a close relationship with the president and told him what I thought. He told me his view, and that of the club, and the problem was solved. What happened was that the press has to sell newspapers and that is the way all this happened."

Top of page

Back to top

Related content

Football News

Back to top
Top of page