After the little bitch-slapping session that went on between Frank Rijkaard and Samuel Eto’o in the press recently, there are more rumbles about unrest in Barcelona.
Long story short: Rijkaard said Eto’o refused to play as a late sub, Eto’o shot back saying such comments did not befit Frank and that if anyone wanted to know the real story, they should ask Rijkaard himself. Eto’o also talked about factions in Barcelona playing up the incident.
Here’s what I think – Eto’o is a good footballer, but not an incredibly bright chap (surprise surprise). He has a huge, huge ego, and while I don’t think there’s an ego-based war going on inside Barcelona, Eto’o is the sort of person who would take a perceived slight towards him very seriously.
So if Rijkaard’s easing him in and Eto’o thinks he should be more needed, then this could be the start of a breakdown in relations between the two, with a sale of Eto’o on the cards in the summer. No matter what Eto’o says about conspiracies, they have nothing to do with what happened in the game against Racing Santander.
One of Rijkaard’s great talents is man-management. He’s not the hyper-motivational guru that Mourinho is, but he knows how to handle prima donnas and under him players like Eto’o and Ronaldinho have flourished. There’s little doubt that Ronaldo would do great in his hands as well, while we’re at it.
But Rijkaard’s also a proud man, so Barca will be quite interesting to watch in the coming weeks, because this story is bound to move forward one way or the other.
For the record, I don’t think Eto’o will be sold or anything ridiculous like that. But strange things happen in football when people who’ve won everything decide to put their egos above their love of the game (yes, I’m take a swipe at Zidane as well).