Thursday, September 6, 2007

Barcelona Look to Keep Eto'o From African Cup of Nations

We knew this would boil over at some point. The old 'club-vs.-country' debate.
Who is it more important to play for: the club that pays your bills? Or the country that feeds your passions?

Word comes out of Spain today that Barcelona are looking to keep currently injured Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o from playing in next year's African Cup of Nations.

The 26-year-old had a successful operation last Saturday on his right leg and will be out for three months.

Eto'o is expected to return to action in January, three weeks before the start of the tournament in Ghana.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta says they will be negotiating to avoid losing the striker for national duties after his recovery.

"He must first play for Barcelona before the other teams," said Laporta.

The three-time African player of the year spent five months on the sidelines last season due to a right knee injury.

The Cameroon striker's absence will at least solve coach Frank Rijkaard's selection headache at Barca for a while.

Rijkaard has the task this season of deciding between a quartet of top forwards - Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and recent signing Thierry Henry.

This issue could boil over and cause more pressing headaches for the Catalunyan club in the near future.

Stay tuned. The debate over the timing of the Cup tournament continues.

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