Ex-Brazil star Roberto Carlos has given an insight into how Samuel Eto’o can have a ‘damaging’ influence on the dressing room which might explain the reasons for the Cameroonian walking on the national team and mysteriously quitting giants Barcelona when he was in his prime.
Eto’o is hugely respected in Africa for his striking ability but his career has been dominated by controversial dressing room issues.
The striker, who recently quit the Cameroon national team, was sensationally flogged from Barcelona when he was at his playing best before similar action was taken against the striker at Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Former Anzhi Makhachkala team director Carlos has revealed that the Cameroon striker interfered with his work at the Russian club to the point that he considered quitting.
In 2011, Carlos was at Anzhi when they sanctioned a deal to buy Eto’o from Inter Milan, making him the highest paid player in the world.
After scoring 36 goals in 71 appearances, Eto’o moved to Chelsea on a free transfer this summer and could make his debut on Saturday at Everton.
But in an interview with newspaper Globo, Carlos expressed his disappointment at what Eto’o contributed during his time at Anzhi.
He said: ‘I’ve known Eto’o since I was 16, and from that time on he’s always been a good guy who I’ve liked a lot.
‘He’s a good person, but there a part of him that thinks ‘I, and not the group’, which is really damaging.
‘When a footballer, instead of playing, is interested in signing players who are his friends… it’s confusing and strange.
‘He did everything at Anzhi, except play football.’
Reflecting on how their relationship broke down, Carlos added: ‘I came to the club and in my first year we finished in the top five.
‘We managed to professionalise the team. In the second year, we signed Eto’o and I had control of the team – I organised the players and worked with the coach. I put Anzhi among the best.
‘With the arrival of Eto’o, with the values of everyone involved, I had some little problems in the dressing room and had to talk to the Russian players and explain why Eto’o was there.
‘However, a moment arrived when Eto’o thought to interfere with my work, to control the club, taking my position and that of Guus [Hiddink, the coach].
‘We talked about one thing, and then he went to the players and talked about another. That stressed me out and I warned that I would pack my bags and go.
‘No one believed me because I had a four-year contract. But then I called Anzhi and came to an agreement.’
Carlos, 40, has since moved on and is now the sporting director at Sivasspor in Turkey. Anzhi owner Suleyman Kerimov decided to slash the club’s budget this summer, leading to a firesale of their best players.
Eto’o, 32, who played previously under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan trained with his new Chelsea teammates for the first time on Tuesday.
Mourinho turned his attention to the forward after Wayne Rooney made the decision to stay at Old Trafford and agreed a one-year deal.