Eto'o launches scathing attack on Rijkaard

February 13, 2007

MADRID, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Samuel Eto'o has hit out at Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard for saying the striker refused to come on as a substitute in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Racing Santander.

'Telling a news conference I didn't want to play is the behaviour of a bad person,' the Cameroon international told reporters on Tuesday.

'They can say what they want but I've always met my obligations to my team mates. If you want to know what really happened you should ask Rijkaard.'

The Dutch coach asked Eto'o, who recently returned after four months out with a knee injury, to come on in the closing minutes at the Nou Camp but the striker rejected the request.

'Eto'o warmed up but afterwards told (assistant coach) Eusebio he did not want to come on,' said Rijkaard after the game.

'I think it's a shame because every minute, every moment, can be important...I haven't spoken with him but I'm always prepared to talk to the players.'

Eto'o, whose outspoken comments have landed him in trouble in the past, said the incident had been built up in the media by opponents of Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

'I've found myself in the middle of a war which isn't mine,' he said. 'There are two groups in Barcelona and I'm the one taking the flak.

'I don't have to give any explanations to anyone. I will only give an explanation to the club if they ask me to.'