Jose Mourinho’s odd comments about Samuel Eto’o’s age were ignored by the striker while he continued to play for Mourinho at Chelsea. But now with the season over and Eto’o seemingly headed for the exit, the three-time European champion Eto’o has shot back at The Special One.
Eto’o made the following comment this week:
“I am 33 years old. And it is not because a fool called me an old man that you must believe it.
“And you may have noticed that the old man was better than the youngsters.”
For those who watch English football, it was indeed a treat to watch Eto’o play this season. Certainly he did not fire on all cylinders, but as a player who had spent his entire career on the continent prior to this season, Mourinho should be thanked for bringing the immensely popular and influencial attacking player to London even if it was for what amounted to a cameo.
Eto’o showed some of the flashes in big matches at Stamford Bridge this past season that made him the most lethal big game striker in Europe between 2005 and 2010. Mourinho, knowing full well that Eto’o could be counted on in the big occasions more so than Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, again showed his lack of discipline when he called out Eto’o.
Mourinho’s bizarre behavior towards the end of the season as the Blues league campaign was falling apart was a clear sign of a manager who had lost control of the narrative and to a large extent his senses. While many Chelsea supporters continue to make excuses for the public and private behavior of their manager, episodes like the Eto’o one have lost “The Special One” much of the previous mesmeric control he had over elements of the British press.
Today, unlike 11 months ago, Mourinho’s every word is judged cynically by the majority of the media and his comments about players are seen as a sign of weakness rather than of strength.