tottenham hotspur news

Assou-Ekotto happy to admit he is a mercenary

May 1, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto has again admitted he only moved to White Hart Lane for the money and believes all players are financially motivated.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto
GettyImagesBenoit Assou-Ekotto joined Spurs in the summer of 2006

Assou-Ekotto, 26, was accused of being a mercenary when he left Lens for Spurs in 2006, but he says he does not understand why that should be an issue.

"If I play football with my friends back in France, I can love football," he told the Guardian. "But if I come to England, where I knew nobody and I didn't speak English ... why did I come here? For a job.

"A career is only 10, 15 years. It's only a job. Yes, it's a good, good job and I don't say that I hate football, but it's not my passion.

"I arrive in the morning at the training ground at 10.30 and I start to be professional. I finish at one o'clock and I don't play football afterwards. When I am at work, I do my job 100%. But after, I am like a tourist in London. I have my Oyster card and I take the tube. I eat.

"I don't understand why everybody lies. The president of my former club Lens, Gervais Martel, said I left because I got more money in England, that I didn't care about the shirt. I said: 'Is there one player in the world who signs for a club and says, 'Oh, I love your shirt? Your shirt is red. I love it'. He doesn't care. The first thing that you speak about is the money.

"Martel said I go to England for the money but why do players come to his club? Because they look nice? All people, everyone, when they go to a job, it's for the money. So I don't understand why, when I said I play for the money, people were shocked. Oh, he's a mercenary. Every player is like that."

He added: "Whatever attitude you bring to it, it doesn't matter as long as you are 100% professional. The coach can say, 'He is good enough' and you are prepared to lose a tooth or an eye for the club, which I am."

Assou-Ekotto has also criticised Tottenham's former sporting director Damien Comolli, as well as former bosses Martin Jol and Juande Ramos, although he is now happy under Harry Redknapp.

"I have one simple rule: try to be a man all your life. I said to Comolli that I had a problem with Jol but he said it was all in my head. But then, after Jol left, he said: 'Yes, there was a problem.' Try to be a man!

"With Jol, he had a hierarchy within the team - everybody didn't have the same starting point. He also said to me that I didn't smile a lot. Ramos was always picking little fights. He told me that I was too aggressive in training. I said, 'We don't do tennis - we play football. You think that we are in Spain but we are in England, my friend'.

"With Harry, it's cool. We don't speak a lot and he doesn't care if I smile or if I know who the next team we play is. If I do my job well, it's okay. He is doing simple things that the previous two managers couldn't even think of. He is straightforward and he doesn't play games."