Samuel Eto’o reveals he joined Inter thanks to Marco Materazzi and Pep Guardiola showed Barcelona ‘Gladiator’ ahead of the Champions League Final.
The Cameroon legend and 2010 Treble winner sat down with Sky Italia talk show ‘E poi c’e Cattelan’ to discuss his time at San Siro.
“It’s true, I came to Inter because of Materazzi. I take this opportunity to thank him, because even if I didn’t know him, when I was in Cameroon I received a message signed Marco Materazzi.
“I called Demetrio Albertini, who I played with at Barcelona, and asked if he could verify if that really was Materazzi. Five minutes later, I got confirmation.
“So, if I played at Inter, it was thanks to Marco Materazzi.”
Eto’o went on to win the Treble under Jose Mourinho at Inter, but also looked back at his difficult beginnings.
“I was never afraid that I wouldn’t make it, because I knew that I had talent, but I was afraid of dogs. I had a terrible experience and a nasty scar on my knee. It was a pretty big dog.
“In Africa there aren’t many opportunities for people, so there are moments when you doubt yourself. When I got to Real Madrid, I thought ‘this is my path, I don’t care what happens, I’ll make it.’
“I arrived thanks to a player called Pirri, who was at Madrid, as he saw me play against the Ivory Coast youth team and called me in to have a trial at Real Madrid.
“I didn’t believe him at first, but I got there and met Roberto Carlos, Raul, Redondo – my idols. And Fabio Capello as a Coach. I remember after the training session, Capello came over to me and said: ‘You are staying here.’”
Eto’o revealed that Mourinho let him make the pre-game speech to the Inter squad ahead of their Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.
He also had another unusual anecdote about the build-up to the 2009 Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United.
“At Barcelona we prepared games in a very relaxed way during the week, so when we got to the locker room, it was as if we were just there to finish the job.
“When we played the Final in Rome, though, that was special. When we got back from the warm-up into the locker room, Guardiola switched off all the lights and made us watch the film ‘Gladiator.’
“It gave us so much energy and we emerged super-fired-up. We won.”
Eto’o and Leo Messi were on the scoresheet in that 2-0 victory.