Milla, who thrilled fans with some dazzling goals and quirky celebrations in helping Cameroon reach the 1990 World Cup quarterfinals, claimed Eto’o “still hasn’t brought anything to our national team” when meeting reporters Friday.
Eto’o is Cameroon’s all-time leading scorer and has won the Champions League three times—twice with Barcelona and last week with Inter Milan.
“Is it worth me going to the World Cup? I still have a few days left to think, but I will see if it’s important for me to participate because I don’t need this (criticism) in my career,” Eto’o said on Canal Plus television late Friday. “It’s always just before the (major) tournaments that the old geezers wake up. What’s Milla done? He hasn’t won the World Cup, they played in the quarterfinals.”
Milla was 38 when he scored four goals in the 1990 World Cup, dancing around the corner flag after each one with a big grin in the days when goal celebrations were not commonplace.
Milla also scored in the 1994 World Cup—Cameroon’s consolation goal after getting thrashed 6-1 by Russia—to become the tournament’s oldest scorer.
Eto’o said he respects Milla as a player, but he was helped by having better players around him in 1990.
“They had one of the best teams with great players in every department. It’s not because they became famous at 40, that they can start talking,” Eto’o said. “You end up asking yourself: Are these my people? Are these really my people?”
Milla’s 28 goals in 102 games is well below Eto’o’s 44 in 94 games for Cameroon, and Eto’o is also the African Cup of Nations all-time leading scorer.
Milla’s modest club career took him to Monaco, Bastia, Saint-Etienne and Montpellier where he scored regularly but did not have the success Eto’o has enjoyed.
In a prolific time with Barcelona, Eto’o scored 108 league goals in 145 games and won the Spanish league title and was also La Liga’s top scorer.
Eto’o scored far fewer goals for Inter this season, but showed versatility by adapting his game to play in a more defensive, wide role out on the right under coach Jose Mourinho.
Inter also won the league title and the Italian Cup, with Eto’o performing well in the Champions League.