Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos has stated that summer addition Samuel Eto’o has the potential to damage dressing-room morale at Stamford Bridge.
Samuel Eto’o’s addition to the Chelsea squad fills the club’s desire to bring a big-name striker to Stamford Bridge. The Cameroon international has played at some of the top clubs in Europe, including Barcelona and Inter, and has a consistent record of hitting the net regularly that the Blues will look to.
However, former coach and team-mate Roberto Carlos has stated that Eto’o has the ability to be ‘damaging’ to team morale, saying that the African forward put himself before the team while the pair were at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
"There's a part of him that thinks 'I, and not the group', which is really damaging," the ex-Real Madrid defender admitted.
"When a footballer, instead of playing, is interested in signing players who are his friends . . . it's confusing and strange. He did everything at Anzhi, except play football."
Carlos continued by stating that he considered walking away from Anzhi due to actions by Eto’o that he considered to undermine his authority.
"I came to the club and in my first year we finished in the top five,” the Brazilian said.
“We managed to professionalise the team. In the second year, we signed Eto'o and I had control of the team - I organised the players and worked with the coach. I put Anzhi among the best.
"With the arrival of Eto'o, with the values of everyone involved, I had some little problems in the dressing room and had to talk to the Russian players and explain why Eto'o was there.
"However, a moment arrived when Eto'o thought to interfere with my work, to control the club, taking my position and that of Guus [Hiddink, the coach].
"We talked about one thing, and then he went to the players and talked about another. That stressed me out and I warned that I would pack my bags and go.
"No one believed me because I had a four-year contract. But then I called Anzhi and came to an agreement."
If anyone can manage Eto’o’s ego it will be Jose Mourinho, who worked with the Cameroonian at Inter and will know the pros and cons of having him at the club well.
It will be interesting to see how the striker integrates into the Chelsea squad though, and what his attitude will be like – especially if he is not playing week-in, week-out.
With a lot of big personalities at the west London club, factions in the dressing room or actions from Eto’o similar to those that Carlos mentions have the ability to derail Chelsea’s silverware hunt.
image: © Jason Bagley