APPIANO GENTILE - "I'm Samuel Eto'o and I don't want to compare myself to anyone. I believe the victories I have earned up to now can contribute to giving the right value to my name." With these words, Inter's latest signing presented himself to the Italian media.
The Cameroonian striker, who put pen to paper on a five-year deal yesterday, greeted a stand full of screaming Inter fans at the training ground before making his way to the press room for his debut news conference as an Inter player.
Eto'o sat alongside José Mourinho, technical director Marco Branca and transfer market consultant Gabriele Oriali as he thanked his former club before talking about his ambitions with the Nerazzurri.
"I want to say goodbye to my ex-team-mates at Barcelona and everyone who accompanied me in my adventure in Spain, where I spent 13 beautiful years, and where I met people who have helped me arrive where I am now," said Eto'o.
"I leave Barcelona with my head held high, I am convinced that every team should write its own history and I now I want to write the history of Inter. The Ballon d'Or? The team comes first, my Ballon d'Or now is the Scudetto."
Samuel responded to the questions in Spanish, but his words were clear, simple and directed to all those who made the trip to Appiano Gentile to greet him: "I want to thank the fans for their support and the welcome they gave me today. I will repay them by working every day to give them the happiness they deserve. Why haven't I kissed the Inter shirt yet? For one reason only: first I have to win and earn the faith of all those who support me in this adventure."
Eto'o's has spent his entire club career in the Spain, first at Leganes and then with Real Madrid and Mallorca before five years at Barça. But the Cameroonian is ready for his debut in Italian football. "It's true, I have always played in Spain but I have great experience of international matches," said Samuel. "I left my country, Cameroon, and I became a citizen of the world. What do I think of the episodes of racism in this country? I can only say that I am proud to be a coloured person. If my skin were a different colour I wouldn't have been the player I am now."
On his rapport with José Mourinho, Samuel Eto'o said: "I never said those words that were attributed to me. There's a videotape that proves it, and in any case that episode goes back to a back between Chelsea and Barça, a heated match. It was a shame that that conversation was interpreted badly. I am very proud to be playing under José Mourinho."
Mourinho on Eto'o
Mourinho wrapped up the press conference by talking about his relationship with the Cameroon forward: "I have crossed paths with Samuel six times in three years, and I was never really worried to know whether he really did say something nasty about me. Why? Because he's like me: he doesn't go home happy after a defeat in an important match.
"The year after that match I wanted him at Chelsea but I wasn't allowed to have him. I'm very satisfied to have him with us, and I'm not only talking in the name of José Mourinho, but in the name of the whole squad. When the deal finally went through the team showed a different tranquillity and has started to adapt its game.
"When will Samuel play for Inter? He's ready to play now, maybe not 90 minutes, but he will play for at least half an hour in Monte Carlo. I'm happy now, I have the right squad to work in the best way this season."