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SAMUEL ETO'O

Eto'o: "I love Guardiola as a coach, but not as a person"

Samuel Eto'o has revealed who was the best manager he worked with, spoke of his time with Guardiola and Mourinho, and pondered a move into coaching.

Eto'o: “I love Guardiola as a coach, but not as a person"

During his glittering 22-year-career career, Samuel Eto’o worked with some of the most celebrated managers in modern footballing history, including Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan and Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

Following Eto’o's etirement in September, Mourinho himself recently backed the former Cameroon international’s potential to become a successful coach. And at the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance and Science in Doha, the 38-year-old, who is an official ambassador of Qatar 2022, pondered a move into management and revealed who was the best coach he had during his career.

“To be a coach I have to study. My luck is that as a player I met a wise man who now rests in peace: Luis Aragonés,” said Eto’o of his former Mallorca coach and fondly remembered Atlético Madrid legend.

“He told me to please listen to the people I knew. It is obvious that the idea of being a coach is in my head. At the moment I am in a period of reflection.”

Eto'o and Xavi with the Champions League trophy. Both Barcelona legends finished their playing careers in Qatar this year.

The coach that changed Eto’o’s life

While Mourinho and Guardiola no doubt left an indelible mark on the ex-Barcelona striker, Eto’o maintained that Aragonés was the best manager he has worked with, and the one that “changed my life.”

“The best coach I had? Each one is special. It is not easy to choose one, but if I have to choose one, it’s Luis. While I was a player at Mallorca, I had a talk in his office that changed my life. He said that I had done everything at Mallorca and told me to go another club to see what my real level was. At that moment I thought: "But what is this old man saying?’,” recalled Eto’o.

“Luis had a lot of personality, but I knew how to play with that personality… He was like a father. It would be a great honour be a coach like him.”

Guardiola and Mourinho

Eto’o also recalled his time with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, saying: “I love him as a coach, but not as a person. I learned to play football with him. I interpreted him better than anyone.”

Eto’o also spoke about working with Mourinho, with whom he won the Champions League with Inter in 2010, and brought attention to the Portuguese coach’s player management skills.

"He left me on the bench for a month and made me warm up in injury time. In his head, he was pricking me to make me his own. I talked to him in his office. It was what he wanted from me, to recover my best level. And I did. We won everything. We had a team of eleven warriors, we won differently.”

The fifth edition of the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance and Science is being held in Doha between October 7 and 9, and also sees the participation of other footballing personalities such as Mauricio Pochettino, Santiago Solari, Gary Cahill and Hernan Crespo.