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'Eto'o Was Furious With Messi'

It has been claimed that African superstar Samuel Eto'o felt a strong resentment towards Lionel Messi after leaving FC Barcelona to join Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

Pictures: Messi Gives Up Hat-Trick For Griezmann

The Nerazzurri beat the Blaugrana in the semi-finals of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League campaign, with the second leg being particularly memorable for Mourinho's interesting plan to stop Messi.

In a recent interview, former Inter CEO Ernesto Paolillo claimed the Portuguese tactician chose Eto'o to do a man-marking job on Messi in that match because the Cameroonian had a personal grudge against the Argentine, who earned more money than he did at the Camp Nou.

"I'll always remember the lesson Mourinho gave me while we were travelling to Barcelona for the second leg," he said in an interview with nicoloschira.com.

"I came from the world of finance and I was trying to learn as much about football as possible, so when we were talking the day before the game, he asked me: 'Who do you think I'll pick to mark Messi tomorrow?'

"I answered by saying Javier Zanetti, followed by a series of other suggestions which Mourinho dismantled one by one, explaining to me why he needed those players in other areas of the pitch.

"At a certain point, having tried almost every name, I asked for the answer to his riddle and he said: 'Remember the reason Eto'o came to join us last summer.

"Eto'o was furious with Messi because Messi earned more than him at Barcelona. So that's why Eto'o will mark him, because nobody could have as much motivation as Eto'o would have to mark Messi.'

"Mourinho was true to his word and it turned out to be one of the keys to that success, asking Eto'o for an enormous sacrifice on the wing."

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Inter went on to win the Champions League that season with victory over Bayern Munich in the final.

Eto'o was one of the players who ultimately left Barcelona because of Messi – click through the gallery below to see more! 

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