Eto'o 'won't succumb to blackmail' over allegations

The 33-year-old has been accused of "treason" for his role in a pre-tournament strike over bonus payments, but says he will soon "come up hard" on the people behind the headlines
By Sam Lee at the Arena da Amazonia

 striker Samuel Eto'o insists he will not succumb to "blackmail" and has promised to reveal all about the heavy criticism he has been receiving once the World Cup is over.

The striker is battling to be fit for Wednesday's Group A match with Croatia but has also had to contend with negative headlines in his homeland, including claims of "treason" and revelations from an ex-girlfriend.

The Indomitable Lions refused to board a plane to Brazil over a bonus payment dispute and also shunned a ceremonial flag handover with the country's prime minister, and Eto'o promises to distribute the names of those "who do not love the country".

"I would like to tell you what I really think but it’s more important to talk about the match and the rest of the World Cup," he told reporters.

"We will not stop at the first group phase, even though a lot of people are hoping for our demise. Believe me, after the World Cup, all the attacks I have been the victim of, I will answer to every single person.

"I will give the names of the people behind the stories and I will let the people of Cameroon know who loves and who does not love the country.

"We do not want to succumb to the pressure of other people who have other interests at heart.

"I want to defend the group. I am the captain. As I told you I am protecting all the players form these rumours and gossip from outside.

"I am not somebody who succumbs to blackmail. After the World Cup I will come up hard on them. I will talk a lot, I will give names. People can attack me, they can say what they want, I don’t care.

Eto'o has been struggling with a knee injury for the past few months, and has played through the pain barrier for Chelsea.

The Cameroon doctor had earlier this week stated that Eto'o needs 10 days to rest following a recurrence in the first-round match against Mexico, but he insists he will fight until the last minute to feature on Wednesday.

"In football everybody is hungry," he added. "Whether or not I can play, I wasn’t going to tell people, we don’t want to give information to our opponent. All teams do that, I cannot give you an answer even though I might already know if I can play. Even if I knew I would not tell you.

"I will do everything in my power to be on the field with my partners. I don’t know how many minutes but it is important that the group remains together.

"I am important but the team is more important than me. I believe in this group, I believe in this team, if I start tomorrow I will do my best as usual, if I’m not I will do my best from the bench so we can win the match."