MILAN, September 16 – Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho insisted on Tuesday that striker Samuel Eto'o would have no more motivation to beat former team Barcelona than he does anyone else as he is already a born winner.Inter host the holders in their Champions League Group F opener in a match that immediately pits Eto’o and Barca’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic against the teams they left only a couple of months ago.
The manner of their departures was wildly different, though, as Ibrahimovic left in search of the European success that eluded him during five years in Italy while Eto’o was forced out of Catalonia against his will, as a make-weight in the deal to bring the big Swede to Spain.
But Mourinho said revenge will not be on the mind of the Cameroon forward.
"I think Samuel is one of those types of player who is always motivated, he was born to win, someone who likes to play with a ball," said the Portuguese boss, who like Eto’o has previously won this competition.
"He left Barcelona with the team in his heart because he felt no negative sentiments towards them.
"I don’t think this match will be anything special for him, I think he’ll play with the same stimulus he has every other match.
"He has absolutely nothing to prove, we all know what his qualities are and he owes nothing to Barcelona because he has already given them a lot.
"He seems normal to me and let’s not forget, he’s not a child, he’s a player with a lot of experience."
Eto’o won two Champions League titles with Barca, in 2006 and 2009, scoring the decisive goal in both finals.
Last season he was part of a team that dazzled both at home in Spain and in Europe, culminating in a sensational performance in the 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the final in Rome in May.
And Mourinho admits that Wednesday’s opponents are the benchmark for his team.
"We’re building a team here, Barcelona is a football school, a team that has kept the same philosophy over many years," he said.
"We’re not a school, we’re a team beginning a period in which we’ll try to play in a certain way with a different philosophy.
"But we also want to become a school, with our own characteristics obviously adapted to the reality of Italian football but also that of European football because we crave success in the Champions League.
"But tomorrow’s game is one rich in quality players."
Regardless of what happens, though, Mourinho insists there will still be a long way to go after the match.
"Inter-Barcelona is one game in a group of six matches, it’s not a question of life or death, neither team can be knocked out of the Champions League and hence there won’t be the drama, the tension or the stress of a knock-out match."