Turkish top flight club Antalyaspor said on Wednesday that their star striker Samuel Eto’o would be left out of the squad until further notice in a bitter row over comments on social media.
Former Cameroon international Eto’o, who in a glittering career has turned out for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea, had written on his Instagram account he was not being given respect for his achievements as he is black.
Eto’o had moved to Antalyaspor in June 2015 as the keystone of the club’s bid in the southern Mediterranean resort city to find national and even European success.
But his stint has turned sour in the past weeks amid intense rumours in the close season Eto’o would join Istanbul arch rivals Besiktas.
Tensions have been compounded by a dreadful start to the new season which has seen Antalyaspor reap just one point from four matches.
Eto’o had written on his Instagram account in Turkish: “Reminder — perhaps some people do not feel respect for me because I am black.”
“But I am not going to come down from the level I have reached. I have been in this game for 18 years,” he added, posting a screenshot from Wikipedia of all the cups he has won.
Eto’o did not specify to whom he was targeting his criticism but later posted another message insisting it was not directed at Antalyaspor chairman Ali Safak Ozturk.
But Antalyaspor said in a terse statement on its website that a meeting of its board had decided to leave Eto’o out of the squad until further notice.
Turkish commentators had interpreted the remarks of Eto’o as a response to apparent criticism by Ali Safak Ozturk of his performance in the early season.
“No player is above the interests of Antalyaspor. Everyone must know their place,” the chairman was quoted as saying.
Turkey is the latest stop in Eto’o’s eclectic career which has taken him to high-profile and lesser known football hotspots around the world.
He played between 2011-2013 for Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the Caucasus region of Dagestan before the owner pulled the plug on its ambitions.