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28.11.2007 15:15

Eto'o: "If it is not today, I will be back tomorrow"

Xavier Rocamora/Roger BogunyÓ

Three months after suffering a knee injury, Samuel Eto'o is on the verge of playing again. Before his comeback, he spoke to Barša TV about his current state and about his thoughts on the team this season.

The Cameroonian international damaged his knee on August 29 in the Joan Gamper match and after a long recuperation period he is almost ready to return to action. In an interview with the ‘Zona Mixta’ programme on Barša TV, he revealed his thoughts on many personal aspects and about the club.

How are you?

"I am very well. Improving little-by-little."

In the last few days we have seen you on the training pitch and you appear to be completely recovered. It will not be long before you can play again?

etoo3201107.jpg"Not long? I do not know about that. I hope so. I feel good. I have worked hard and it seems like I am on the final straight now."

This time you want to take it easy and return when you are really ready.

"I suffered the second big injury in the same leg and I think that it was going to be a mistake then. We have taken all the time needed for the benefit of everyone; Barša, myself and my family. And I am pleased by the recovery has gone."

Everyone has been asking you when you are back, no?

"A lot of people want to know if I will play on Saturday. All I know is that I have worked hard up until now. In football everything changes very quickly and moves so fast, that nobody knows. I know that I have worked hard and if it is not today, then I will be back tomorrow."

You have been out of action for three months. What are your thoughts about the team during that time?

LY6M0674.jpg"Very good. Apart from the away games, where we have been slightly inconsistent. I am pleased about yesterday because we ran a great deal and we put pressure on further up the pitch. With out play and our way of playing the team was impressive, just like in the second half against Recre."

Barša have been very strong in Camp Nou winning every game, but all the talk is about the away games. What is the problem?

"At home the pitch is bigger and we can open up the play and play as we want to. Quite often the fields are smaller away from home and we have been unable to play our normal style, which is to push up and win possession. Yesterday, like in the second half against Recre, everyone was running a lot and putting pressure on, which is great."

Despite that, the team is only two points behind Madrid in the league and they are coming to Camp Nou in less than a month.

"Yes, in three games time. But our focus is now on Saturday in Montju´c. Before Madrid, we have to think about that. That is the game we should be focussed on. It will be a complicated match. I know that if we are focussed and ready, then we can take the three points."

What do you think about Espanyol?

ETOO281107.jpg"Espanyol are doing very well and playing well. They are up there on merit. Albert Riera has reached the level that we all thought he could, because I remember seeing him playing for the Mallorca youth teams. He is a good player and can achieve great things. He is up there and cannot drop back. But in football, in each game, it depends on the form of the opposition and there will be a lot of pressure. If we are prepared though, I think we can win."

In the Champions League the team qualified for the first knockout phase of the competition yesterday.

"What is important is that we are though and we have finished top of the group. I want to congratulate my teammates and the coach. But we also have to finish strongly by winning the last game. We are playing at home and we have to win."

People are already talking about possible opponents in the next round. Do you prefer a strong or a weak team?

"There are no teams that are harder or weaker. Sometimes the team with not such a famous name is the one that causes you the most problems. The advantage we have is that the second leg will be at home. It is an important advantage, but we cannot lose focus as if we lose the first leg 4-0 then it would be very difficult to score five at home because the other team will just defend. But we know we have already taken a big step forward."
Eto'o: “If it is not today, I will be back tomorrow“

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His team-mates
Let us talk about your teammates, starting with Ronaldinho. As you know, he has received some criticism recently.

"Personally, he is relaxed. I think that is the biggest virtue he has. We all know what Ronaldinho is capable of doing as a player. We all have difficult moments, but we know what he can do on the pitch. People demand a lot from him because they know what he is capable of. There is nobody in the world with his quality."

A few weeks ago you said that one day Bojan Krkic will replace you. What do you think now?

"I know that he just starting out in his career and he will replace me, because he has everything. Now, he should not believe everything that is said in the press because it is great when they praise you, but the day that they criticise you they will not worry about how old you are. I only want him to remain level headed and enjoy his game and each time the press give him praise be wary in order to be ready when do not."

Thierry Henry is likely to be the player that you will have to compete with to win a place in the team. What do you think of his first few months at the club?

"Titi is doing well enough. He has had a few problems, but in general he has scored goals, and that is what he has to do in that position. Despite the criticism, I think he is doing well."

Reflecting on what EdmÝlson said last week, the board, the coaching staff and some of the players have all talked about it. What is your opinion?

"I think it is all over. It was talked about in the changing room and it will stay there. The coach has spoken about it and said it is a private matter. There is nothing more to say."

Finally, what do you think about Marc Ingla becoming the new sporting vice-president?

"I do not think anything will change. I already have a good relationship with him. I am please because I know that he is always someone who has supported us."

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