‘We Africans don’t exist,’ Eto’o blasts Ballon d’Or
Barcelona legend Samuel Eto’o has claimed that ‘Africans don’t exist’ after being left out of three ‘Dream Team’ lineups named by the Ballon d’Or, causing a row among fans and experts over the players picked by the awards judges, reports rt.com.
Barcelona’s all-time top scorer, Portugal icon Cristiano Ronaldo, and late Argentina hero Diego Maradona were among the forwards picked in the first of three all-time best teams by the founders of the awards.
Netherlands magician Johan Cruyff and Brazil playmaker Ronaldinho were in the second team, while World Cup winner Thierry Henry and Spain star Andres Iniesta were among the chosen ones in second and third teams that left Eto’o feeling invisible.
“How can [organizers] France Football pick three Ballon D’or teams with not a single African player amongst the 33?” asked Osasu Obayiuwana, a lawyer with a large social media following who was part of FIFA’s Anti-Racism Task Force.
“It’s not credible at all. No Samuel Eto’o, no George Weah, at least?”
Retired two-time Champions League winner Eto’o responded by saying: “We Africans don’t exist.”
The former Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Chelsea striker’s remark caused arguments among his Twitter following of more than 1.5 million.
“You made Africa shine on the world football scene like George Weah, [Jay-Jay] Okocha and many others,” said one, tagging ex-Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire target-man Didier Drogba into their response.
Another joked: “Maybe when they put Pele, they thought he was African. All kidding aside, it’s a scandal and you, Samuel, continue to stand up against this discrimination. Only people like you can make things happen.”
Eto’o finished fifth in the voting for the 2009 Ballon d’Or, which was won by Messi ahead of Ronaldo.