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20.07.2009 13:30

Guardiola on Eto'o: “The decision’s mine”

Roger Bogunyà

Josep Guardiola takes full responsibility for developments with Samuel Eto’o. He says the decision to do without the player is due to “feeling” and has nothing to do with football or behaviour issues.

As was to be expected, the first question at his press conference was about whether Samuel Eto'o is to stay at Barça. Guardiola made things clear: “Without him we wouldn’t have done what we did last year. There are no football or personal or behaviour issues here. It’s just a feeling I have. I think there is a need for change. Maybe I’m wrong but it’s my responsibility and decision”.

Eto'o is exemplary

fcb-almeria.jpgGuardiola had not one bad word to say about the striker. He said Eto’o is an “exemplary” player willing to play out of position on the wing and a “marvellous” footballer. He thinks Eto’o was crucial in winning the treble and is “very grateful” for all he’s done for Barça over the last five years.

He also did not criticise his character: “There are no personal issues and I’m not here to change his character”. Doing without the player is just a “feeling I have”.

“I think there is a need for change”

31-03-09_WEB_GUARDIOLA_Y_ETOO_01.jpgHe didn’t specify what he meant by this, but did refer to “lots of things that bring it about”. “After winning what we’ve won and after five years, I think we need to change things which my experience as a footballer tells me we need to change”. In other words, teams which win things need to change.

Takes full responsibility

2009-07-20_GUARDIOLA_05.jpgGuardiola is aware that Eto'o has the whip hand - “he’s fully entitled to accept or reject Inter’s offer, and if he stays we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” – but he knows that this is the type of decision he has to take as a manager. “It’s my responsibility,” he said. “Maybe I’m wrong and maybe it won’t work out.”

Wants just one ‘9'

Guardiola was asked if he’d thought about signing Ibrahimovic if Eto'o stays. “We’re rich, but not that rich,” he replied with a smile. “It won’t happen. You don’t want too many players in key positions and both of them are starters.”
Guardiola on Eto'o: “The decision’s mine”

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Other players
Below is a summary of what Guardiola said about other players who came up at the press conference.

Henrique: “He’s here to stay. He’ll help us a lot. He’s adapted well at Bayer Leverkusen and played a lot. I’ve heard good things about him and we’ll see how he fits into the squad.”

Cáceres: “We might put him out on loan because next season maybe he won’t have that much game time.”

Maxwell: “He’s been at the top for years. He’s played at Ajax and Inter and he’ll bring us a lot.”

Keirrison (Palmeiras player): “He’s very young and has very good stats. It’s hard scoring. The club has decided to get him but in principle that’s to send him out on loan and he’s not in my plans for this season.”

Messi: “He wants to train and it’s great for me that he’s here.”

Puyol: “He’ll renew. Carles isn’t going anywhere. If he’s thinking about moving, he can forget about it. He’ll play where he’s told because he’s great in all positions.”

Márquez: “He’ll renew. He’s getting over his injury, he’s come along and he’s very enthusiastic.”

Gudjohnsen: “I’ve spoken to him and for the moment he’s staying.”

Henry: “His role depends on him. If he’s okay he’ll play a lot. He’s Henry.”

Sylvinho: “To be sure he might be angry with me. When he played he was great; in the Champions League final we saw that when everyone, Ronaldo, Rooney and Park was on his side.”

Ibrahimovic (Inter player): “He’s still an Inter player.”

Ribéry (Bayern player): “I reckon no way. He won’t come, firstly because Bayern won’t let him and secondly because his agent wants him to go elsewhere.”

Villa (Valencia player): “I spoke to him.”

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