Samuel Eto’o has compared working with Jose Mourinho to Pep Guardiola – but chose Luis Aragones as the best manager he played under.
Eto’o announced his retirement from football in September, bringing the curtain down on a hugely successful career that saw him win four league titles, five domestic cup competitions, three Champions Leagues and two Africa Cups of Nations.
His first European triumph came at Barcelona in 2005/06, before Eto’o won the trophy for a second time at the Camp Nou under Guardiola three years later.
He then scooped the prize for a third time while playing for Mourinho’s Inter in 2009/10, the season in which they also won the Serie A title and Coppa Italia.
Eto’o, who also worked with the Portuguese at Chelsea, has explained how he responded to Mourinho’s tough love, before hailing Guardiola the manager but criticising his actions away from the pitch.
“He left me on the bench for a month and made me warm up in injury time,” the former striker said, discussing Mourinho’s man-management skills at the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance and Science in Qatar.
“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.
“[As for Guardiola] 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 singled out former Spain and Atletico Madrid boss Aragones as the best coach he ever worked with, having spent two seasons under his tutelage at Real Mallorca.
“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,” he said.
“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?’
“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.”
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