African footballers "are not always appreciated," former Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o lamented in an exclusive interview with Afp, while the European Golden Ball, whose votes will be closed Friday , has not been awarded to a player from Africa since 1995.
"Western media dominate our African media, so
necessarily there is an influence »
Since George Weah, the only African winner of the prestigious individual trophy almost 25 years ago, no other winner has been from this continent, despite a talented newcomer embodied by Eto'o, Didier Drogba or Yaya Toure.
"The Western media dominates our African media, so obviously there is an influence. We appreciate more the goal of (Lionel) Messi ", estimated the Cameroonian during this interview realized last week in Paris; convinced that "African players are not respected", "not always appreciated at their true value".
Despite three European titles in the Champions League (2006, 2009, 2010) and several decisive goals in the final, Eto'o has never won the honorary title of the best player in the world. A huge regret? "No, because I've won a lot of trophies, I've created a lot of dreams and for me it's like the Golden Ball. By cons I regret a lot for my younger brothers who arrived after my generation, "said the former striker, who just hang up crampons at 38.
Eto'o refers to the Senegalese Sadio Mane and the Egyptian Mohamed Salah, who were absent to the surprise of the Fifa Best Award in September, despite their fiery season with the European Champion Liverpool.
"Mane and Salah had a good season and that would not have
shocked person they win "
Asked to comment on his favorite among the finalists Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, at the ceremony in Milan, Eto'o had quoted … the two African players before slipping away. A sequence that has looped on social networks. "It was an opportunity for Africa to see them on the podium and why not win. They had a good season and it would not shock anyone they win, "said the former star of Fc Barcelona (2004-2009).
Despite the vote of the coaches and captains of the 54 African national teams, Mane, finalist of the 2019 Can, and Salah, did not fill the voices of the continent. What trigger several polemics in Egypt and elsewhere.
"Why this hatred between us, Africans? Why this misplaced jealousy? If we do not like ourselves, others will not do it for us. It's just a shame! If all Africans voted for Africans, we would have had several better players so far, "said Samuel Eto'o.
With the two stars of the Reds but also Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), however, African football has placed five of the 30 representatives appointed for the Ballon d'Or 2019, which will be awarded on December 2 in Paris.
But how do you lure the world jury of 180 journalists in their favor? "Africa already needs to be very strong," Eto'o replies. Today, we are lucky to have players who are good, who score more than ten goals in the Champions League! We had the top three scorers of the English championship (Mane, Salah, Aubameyang), it is not credible that these young people do not have our support. "
"My goal is to accompany these young people as much as I can, to defend them, to protect them, because a day will come when they will also have to pass the torch. That's what we Africans have not always understood at all levels, and that's why we're always behind, "he adds.
With Ouest France