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Argentine wanted Catalan to hang on to Cameroonian...

Inter forward Samuel Eto’o has claimed that Lionel Messi attempted to persuade Pep Guardiola to retain the Cameroonian at Barcelona, despite the coach's insistence that Eto’o be sold.

The 29-year-old moved to the Nerazzurri in the summer of 2009 as part of the deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic switch to Camp Nou, and Guardiola’s belief that Eto’o was a disruptive influence in the dressing room was a pivotal factor in the decision to offload him to Serie A.

However, in a recent interview with French publication L’Equipe, Eto’o has defended his relationship with his team-mates, and even claimed he had the support of Messi when Guardiola decided that his time at the club was up.

He stated: “I’ve played and I have won with Ronaldinho, [Lionel] Messi, and with many great players. When Ronaldinho arrived at Barcelona, they did not win anything. After my arrival, we won it all.

“When [Pep] Guardiola wanted me out, Messi went to him and said: ‘Let whoever you want go, but not Samuel’. All my coaches will tell you that I am a great professional. I’ve been a role model in terms of discipline, and I have always been rigorous and professional.”

Upon moving to Italy, Eto’o won the treble of league title, domestic cup and Champions League with Inter, a year after achieving the same feat with Barcelona.

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