BARCELONA // The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said today his decision to let the striker Samuel Eto'o go was motivated by a feeling that is was time for a change and was not made for sporting or personal reasons. The Spanish and European champions said on Friday they had agreed in principle with Inter Milan to swap Eto'o plus cash for the Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the conclusion of the deal depended on the players agreeing personal terms.
"It's simply a matter of feeling. I think we have to change things," Guardiola said, adding it was his decision alone not to include the Cameroon international in his plans. "It had nothing to do with football strategy or any personal issue or attitude," he added. "Maybe I am wrong but it's my responsibility. It's my decision." Guardiola thanked Eto'o for his service over the past five years and said he had been a key part of the Catalan club's unprecedented treble last season of domestic league and cup and European Champions League.
The Barca coach said he had spoken to Valencia striker David Villa, who the club have also been chasing, but gave no details about their conversation. He added that defenders Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez would be extending their contracts and Mexican international Marquez was recovering well from a knee injury. *Reuters