Samuel Eto’o has been forced to explain his way out of a hole, after comments he made in the past were dragged up by the British media.
The Cameroon striker does not deny that he once said that he “would rather sell groundnuts than play for a team like Chelsea.”
But he insists that his relationship with Blues boss Jose Mourinho had once been “tense”, and that he had been speaking about The Special One, and not the club that now pays his meaty salary.
"I was talking about Jose -- not about Chelsea," Eto’o backtracked to the media, according to Soccernet.
"Before meeting at Inter, we didn't know each other personally, so our relationship was tense. I even said one time that I’d never play for a club where Jose was coach.”
Having been reminded about his ill-advised statements of the past, and the resulting irony of his current situation, Eto’o then laid on the praise for Mourinho, thick and sweet like honey.
"But God knows best. He wanted to show me that I was wrong and today Jose is a friend. Now he’s my coach again. It’s a real pleasure to team up with him once more and join a great team. Jose has a real clear idea. He talks straight and it’s really important in this business. He’s sincere and straightforward,” the striker explained.
"When it comes to Jose, I can’t pick out only one quality because he’s as good on the pitch as off it and this is rare for a manager. He’s one of the best. He got in touch. I realised there was an opportunity at Chelsea -- and things moved very fast."
Meanwhile, Eto’o has sought to explain his frankly bizarre move to the backwater Russian club of Anzhi Makhachkala as a sporting pursuit, and not a financial one.
He insists that the on-field challenges he embraced in Russia kept him sharp, and that he will prove he is still a world-class finisher surrounded by quality team-mates at Stamford Bridge.
"Does a rich man get tired of being rich? All I’ve ever wanted is to be No. 1," said.
"And to be the best, I must want to win and work really hard. I want it badly. The day when I stop being hungry for winning will be the end of my career.
"When I went to Anzhi, people said it was because of the money. But it wasn’t -- it was for the challenge. Now I’m back, people are asking me if I’m still at the peak of my career. The challenge at Anzhi was to bring a team from the bottom to the top, and that’s what I did.
"At Chelsea, I will play with proven and established players again. It's a revamped team but with the same skill and fighting spirit that Chelsea are famous for."