Football icon sorry after attacking man at World Cup stadium (VIDEO)
Retired Barcelona and Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o has issued a social media apology after a clip emerged of him confronting a fan at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The incident occurred after Brazil’s win over South Korea in the last 16 at Doha’s Stadium 974 on Monday night, which head of the Cameroonian FA Eto’o attended.
In footage viewed more than five million times on Twitter, where it was shared by Spanish news outlet La Opinion, Eto’o initially seems happy to pose for photos with fans outside the ground.
Eventually, however, he becomes irate with one man pursuing him with a camera and confronts him.
Despite being held back, Eto’o breaks free and seems to brutally knee the man directly in the face, which launches him backwards.
Eto’o has been criticized for the act online, and issued an appology on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon for what he described as a “violent altercation” with a man he assumed was “probably” an Algeria fan.
“After the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter,” Eto’o wrote.
“I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.”
Algerian social media personality Said Mamouni has since published a video on YouTube claiming he was the man who was attacked by Eto’o.
Mamouni says that Eto’o became violent after he asked the Champions League winner whether he had bribed Gambian referee Bakary Gassama during a World Cup qualifier between Cameroon and Algeria in March, which Cameroon won 2-1 in the dying moments of the second leg and qualified for Qatar 2022 via away goals.
“I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters,” Eto’o vowed in his statement.
“Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.”
“During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria’s defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport,” he added.
“All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected. I therefore call on the Algerian authorities and federation to take their responsibilities to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs.
“To Fennecs’ fans, I wish that they find peace and manage to overcome the disappointment of a painful defeat, now behind us,” Eto’o concluded.
Eto’o could face legal action after Mamouni claimed in his video address that he had filed a complaint against the 41-year-old at a Qatari police station following the attack.
Eto’o retired from professional football in 2019 after a glittering career which included a spell in Russia at Anzhi Makhachkala.
He is in Qatar as 2022 World Cup ‘legacy ambassador’.