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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 18:39 GMT
Barcelona will not punish Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho share a hug
Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho shared a hug at training
Barcelona will not punish Samuel Eto'o for his public criticism of coach Frank Rijkaard and team-mate Ronaldinho.

The striker had hit out at Rijkaard after he claimed Eto'o had refused to play as a substitute against Racing Santander on Sunday.

But sporting director Txiki Begiristain said the situation has been resolved.

"Rijkaard has asked us not to sanction him because he has confidence in the team's ability to manage itself," Begiristain told sports daily Marca.

"He is happy that everything has been resolved so quickly. The problem has been one of dialogue from the moment last weekend's game with Racing ended."

Eto'o had apparently slammed Rijkaard for saying he refused to play as a substitute.

"Telling a news conference I didn't want to play is the behaviour of a bad person," Eto'o said.

I didn't explode, I responded to what was being said about me

Samuel Eto'o

"I have always thought about the group first. That is what hurt me most."

Eto'o, a three-time African Player of the Year, has only just returned from a four-month absence following a serious right knee injury.

He explained that he refused to play in the 2-0 win over Racing Santander even though he turned out the previous weekend in the 0-0 draw against Osasuna because he did not have time to warm up properly.

Ronaldinho was also critical of Eto'o after the game, suggesting the striker had been inconsiderate to his team-mates.

But Eto'o responded: "If a team-mate says that you must think of the team, it's up to him to think of the team. Personally I always think first about the group and then money."

However, on Wednesday Eto'o sought to quell tensions raised by his public criticism.

During a training session there appeared to be no hard feelings between Eto'o and Ronaldinho as the two players were photographed hugging.

Earlier, Eto'o denied calling Rijkaard "a bad person" saying: "It's a lie to say I called Rijkaard a bad person. Those who love controversy want to say that," he said.

"I didn't explode, I responded to what was being said about me," he added.

Reports had suggested a rift had developed at the Catalan club between supporters of president Joan Laporta and those of former vice-president Sandro Rosell, who left the club after a disagreement with Laporta.

Eto'o back after injury lay-off
05 Feb 07 |  African


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