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Diarra: I joined Anzhi because of Eto'o, not the money

Diarra: I joined Anzhi because of Eto'o, not the money

The former Real Madrid midfielder made a deadline-day switch to the cash-rich Russian club, but insists his switch was not financially motivated

Lassana Diarra says his move to Anzhi Makhachkala was driven by a desire to play alongside Samuel Eto'o rather than the prospect of earning a lucrative salary.

The 27-year-old left Real Madrid on transfer deadline day to sign a four-year contract with the Dagestan-based side, after falling out of favour at Santiago Bernabeu.

The deal came as a surprise to many, with the likes of AC Milan and Fenerbahce touted as potential suitors for the midfielder, but the allure of acquainting himself with the Cameroon striker swayed his decision.

"Spartak showed an interest in me this summer, but at that time I was only focused on Real Madrid," said Diarra at his official presentation on Monday.

"Overall, I would not talk about the clubs that were interested in me. Anzhi were interested more than the others, but the most important thing for me is that Samuel Eto'o is here.

"He's like a big brother to me. Why can't we succeed together?"

It had also been suggested that Diarra's transfer to Anzhi was motivated by the promise of a larger pay packet, but he poured scorn on such claims.

"It's a new challenge for me. So far I've only been here a few days, but I've had time to train," the ex-Chelsea and Arsenal man continued.

"I've been very well received and I thank you all. I believe Anzhi can push themselves to become champions, so why can't I be?

"During my career I have played for some very prestigious European teams and, trust me, I've won enough titles and been paid enough. I did not come here for the money.

"Those who believe that should come to the games, analyse my performances and then tell me why they think I came to Anzhi."

Russian football has been noted for a series of racist incidents over the past few years, but the Frenchman does not believe that he will be the target of such discrimination.

"Of course, there is no place for racism in football. Fifa and Uefa should take action to fight this disease, but in my career, I have not had any specific problems with this," he added.

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