Rome gives thumbs up to Eto’o

May 28th, 2009 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Arsenal By Daniel Garcia Marco
Rome, May 28 (DPA) Prior to Barcelona’s Champions League final against Manchester United, Samuel Eto’o had vowed if necessary “to run 800 kilometres in Rome.”

The Cameroon striker didn’t have nearly that far to go Wednesday in the Italian capital before delivering the winning goal after just 10 minutes in Barcelona’s 2-0 victory.

Eto’o is now the only man to equal Real Madrid’s Raul Gonzalez with goals scored in two Champions League finals.

Now 28, Eto’o had already been one of the heroes in Barca’s 2006 Champions League title. He drew that game against Arsenal in Paris and left Juliano Belletti to seal the Catalan club’s 2-1 triumph with a late goal.

In Rome, Eto’o made things 1-0 early with Barcelona’s first approach to the rival goal, which proved to be his only shot of the game.

Since joining Barcelona in 2004, he has been the team’s top scorer, though Argentine Lionel Messi now has more Champions League goals and sealed the 2-0 win Wednesday.

Eto’o had scored just two goals this month. He did not find the net in the 6-2 win over Real Madrid, the two-round Champions League semifinal tie against Chelsea or the King’s Cup final.

With the Liga title already in Barca’s hands, he has seen Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan pass him as Spain’s top scorer, which the Uruguayan had already done in 2005.

Almost a year ago, Coach Pep Guardiola had made it clear at first that he did not want the Cameroon striker in his new project. However, backed by his team-mates, Eto’o convinced the coach and was actually part of a historic season.

The striker swallowed his ego and recently took on a less prominent role on the wing to leave the limelight and the honours to Messi.

However, Eto’o has scored 29 goals in La liga and four in the Champions League. He has made a lethal attacking tandem with Messi, who is the Champions League top scorer with nine goals in 12 games, plus 23 goals in La Liga.

Barcelona’s performance Wednesday brought their total to 136 goals between La Liga and the Champions League. Of those, 33 were scored by the redeemed goal-hunter Eto’o.

In Rome, he made it clear that he is still very much alive as a world-class striker.

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