Eto’o Samuel?

Cameroon coach Volker Finke has refused to confirm reports that striker Samuel Eto’o has retired from international football.

There were reports over the weekend that Eto’o had quit the Cameroon national team for “family reasons” after a row with coach Finke over team selection.

The 32-year-old, who also threatened to retire from international football in September 2012 before changing his mind, told team mates in the dressing room after Sunday’s 1-0 home win over Libya that he was ending his 16-year career with the national side.

No individual player is bigger than the team, but the iconic Eto’o, his country’s highest scorer and a four-time African Footballer of the Year, comes closer to that description than most. Befitting his lofty status, Eto’o had apparently demanded a say in team selection and requested that goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and striker Achille Webo start against Libya, but Finke refused to agree.

Finke avoided commenting directly on the issue, saying that he is keen for Eto’o to clear up his own future.

“Samuel Eto’o is a great player and it is better that he should be the one to explain things, he is the one who knows his decision,” he said.

“He has given a lot to football and Cameroon and that is why he is the one to explain this.”

Cameroon are now just one two-legged tie away from the World Cup next year, having been eliminated at the group stage in South Africa in 2010.

Had enough

Kevin-Prince Boateng left Milan for Schalke this summer after growing fed up with the racism in Italy.

So says Peter Peters, the German club’s chief financial officer, who spoke with Bild Sport Plus.

“Boateng wanted to leave because of the too many racist incidents in Italy,” the official commented.

“Milan President Silvio Berlusconi promised him that he would be able to go if Milan qualified for the Champions League group stages.”

The Ghanaian international helped the club do that by scoring twice in the second leg play-off against PSV Eindhoven last month.

Boateng stood up against the racists at the start of 2013 when, after being abused by some fans, he walked off the pitch during an abandoned friendly against Pro Patria.

The 26-year-old joined Milan in the summer of 2010 from Portsmouth via Genoa. It is believed he was sold to Schalke for a fee in the region of €11m.

Value for money?

Roma’s Daniele De Rossi is the highest-earning footballer in Italy, according to figures released on Monday in the country’s press.

The 30-year-old midfielder earns €6.5 million per year, a full million more than the second-highest earner – Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain – and 2 million more than his Roma skipper Francesco Totti.

The figures reveal the extent to which Italian football has slipped in recent years; only 12 players across the country earn in excess of €4 million per year, compared to 13 members of Chelsea’s squad who are reported to earn the same figure.

No player from Italy’s top division comes close to being among Europe’s top 10 earners. Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Monaco counterpart Radamel Falcao are each reported to earn €14m after tax, while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi takes home €13m.

Top 12:

1. Daniele De Rossi Roma €6.5m
2. Gonzalo Higuain Napoli €5.5m
3. Diego Milito Inter €5m
4. Esteban Cambiasso Inter €4.5m
4. Carlos Tevez Juventus €4.5m
6. Francesco Totti Roma €4.5m
7. Mario Gomez Fiorentina €4.25m
8. Gianluigi Buffon Juventus €4m
8. Mario Balotelli Milan €4m
8. Kaka Milan €4m
8. Philippe Mexes Milan €4m
8. Marco Borriello Roma €4m

Goal of the day

Fabulous over head kick by Botafogo’s Elias against Criciúma.

Save of the day

An amusing incident during a Brazilian lower division match culminated in a Benny Hill style chase towards the dressing room.

The Serie D game between Aparecidence and Tupi came alive late on when Aparacidence’s physio, Romildo Fonseca da Silva (also known as “Lefty”), entered the pitch and made a goalline clearance. Moments later he dived to divert another goalbound effort, much to the annoyance of the Tupi players, who tried to confront ‘Lefty’, who by this point was sprinting towards the sanctuary of the dressing room.

The intervention ensured the score remained 2-2, a result which saw Aparacidence advance to the play-off semi-finals. This might not be the last we hear of the matter though, with Tupi threatening to challenge the result in court.

Quote of the day

“Even now I would think that a player is not worth this. It’s football, unfortunately. It is incomprehensible to pay so much.”

Zinedine Zidane, who held the title of most expensive footballer on the planet when he moved from Juventus to Real in 2001, cannot believe the Spanish outfit have spent €100 million on Gareth Bale.

Job for life

In a moment of rashness he may one day come to regret, Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has insisted that he will never fire head coach Jurgen Klopp.

The 46-year-old has been in charge of BVB ever since 2008 and has since guided Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup.

“I will never give Jurgen Klopp the sack, under no circumstances,” Watzke was quoted as saying by Kicker.

The Dortmund director added that he remains confident Klopp will not decide to leave the club before the end of his current deal.

“Jurgen Klopp does not sign a contract and then breach it. He has never done something like that. He has a contract until 2016 and will fulfill it.”

Perhaps boosted by the resounding vote of confidence Klopp felt compelled to explain his coaching philosophy to

Klopp spoke of a “playing philosophy that reflects your mentality, that reflects the club, that gives a direction to follow. That means taking the passion to its limits. Borussia Dortmund don’t just play for a result, Borussia Dortmund means an experience.”

Such nonsense suggests that the popular coach is beginning to be believe too much of his own hype. Which, considering he has been a genuine breath of fresh air in recent seasons, would be a real shame.

Hippy crack

England footballer Kyle ­Walker has apologised after he was photographed inhaling nitrous oxide on a night out with friends.

The drug, dubbed ‘hippy crack’ in the UK, whose effects have been likened to those of crack cocaine or heroin is, nonetheless, a legal substance..

Walker, 23 – who took part in England’s 4-0 defeat of Moldova on Friday – seemed happy to be photographed as he celebrated a friend’s birthday in his home town of Sheffield.

A source who was at the club told the Mirror: “More and more canisters of laughing gas started appearing. Kyle and his pals were getting well carried away with them. He didn’t mind one bit that people were taking pictures.”

According to the Mirror, ‘Nitrous oxide gives a feeling of intense euphoria but users can die of ­suffocation. The gas can also cause strokes, seizures, blackouts and stress on the heart.’

By the sound of it, the drug appears to be almost as dangerous as the notorious cake, although the fact that it is administered to women during the course of childbirth, indicates that the dangers might have been exaggerated somewhat.

Kyle told the Sunday Mirror: “I have now been made aware of the health risks associated with this practice and accept that my actions were of poor judgement. I hope this will in no way influence or encourage others into putting their own health at risk.”

Especially women in labour.


Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has come under fire after his clumsy challenge during a charity match left One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson crumpled on the floor.

The forward flew into a challenge with pop star Louis Tomlinson at Stiliyan Petrov’s charity match. Either Agbonlahor momentarily forgot that this was a charity match or, he really isn’t a fan of Britain’s leading boy band. Either way, Tomlinson limped off the pitch before vomiting on the sidelines.

The challenge led to death threats from One Direction fans, and lavish praise from music fans.

Furious fans took to Twitter to condemn Agbonlahor, with one posting: ‘@gabby_10 This guy hurt Louis knee. I shall hurt your face. I better hear that you apologized or I will find you, and I will kill you.’

When manager Martin O’Neill was asked about the condition of Tomlinson he said: “Agbonlahor smashed into him and he picked himself up and he was ill at the dressing room area.

“He has rushed off now but I think he is fine – he doesn’t know where he is but I think he is fine.”

Agbonlahor said he would apologise: “It was one of those things. I’ll apologise to Louis when we meet up with everybody after the game.

“I know he enjoyed playing in the game and it’s fantastic that he took time out to be here, and the same with everyone else who played.”