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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:02 UK

Eto'o denies Mourinho rift

Samuel Eto'o arriving at Milan airport
Eto'o joined Inter Milan from Barcelona

Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o denies suggestions he has had a problem with new coach Jose Mourinho of Inter Milan.

Eto'o said four years ago he would never play for a Mourinho team because he didn't like their style of football.

"I've never said anything against Mourinho, for many years I've wanted to work with him and now I can do so," insisted Eto'o.

Eto'o was part of a swap deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic leave the Italians and head to Spanish club Barcelona.

But before Eto'o could start training with his new team-mates he first had to answer questions about comments he once made about Mourinho when the Portuguese manager was in charge of Chelsea.

"I'm proud to have him as my coach and I will work to repay him the faith he has shown in me," Eto'o said as he was officially unveiled as an Inter Milan player on Tuesday.

Mourinho himself supported Eto'o's claim and said even if bad words had been exchanged in the past, that's all part of the game.

"Chelsea and Barcelona played each other six times in three years. I've never been interested in whether he spoke well or badly about me because he's like me," said Mourinho.

"He's someone who after a defeat goes home unhappy. The second year at Chelsea I wanted to buy him.

"But they told me no, like Inter did with Maicon. Both the squad and I are delighted that he is with us."

Eto'o proclaimed that he does not want to be compared to Ibrahimovic, who he is replacing.

I've never been interested in whether he spoke well or badly about me because he's like me

Inter boss Jose Mourinho

"I'm Samuel Eto'o and I don't compare myself to anyone else, my past speaks for itself," said the only African player to have won the Champions League twice.

"Ibra is a great player and I wish him all the best in a team that I will always love."

Eto'o did not agree with those who say Serie A has suffered a drop in class compared to Spain but was aware that the occasional racist abuse he received in the Primera Liga could re-emerge in Italy.

"The level of Serie A has not got worse. There are many strong players. It's true that I've played my whole career in Spain but I played lots of internationals," he said.

"I will speak up when there are problems. I am proud of the colour of my skin. Racism is a problem of education more than anything else, I expect politicians to sort it out."

Eto'o, who is likely to play in the Italian Super Cup against Lazio on 8 August in Beijing and may feature sooner, has taken the number nine shirt at the Serie A champions.



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see also
Ibrahimovic seals Barcelona move
28 Jul 09 |  Europe
Barca & Inter agree striker swap
17 Jul 09 |  Europe
Man City pull plug on Eto'o move
10 Jul 09 |  Man City
Eto'o the Great
28 May 09 |  African


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