Laporta locked in battle for duo

The Barcelona president has refused to rule out the possibility of the forward Samuel Eto'o staying at the Nou Camp next season.

Samuel Eto'o congratulates Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi after he scored his hat-trick in a pre-Season Friendly against Dundee United.
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BARCELONA // The Barcelona president Joan Laporta has refused to rule out the possibility of the forward Samuel Eto'o staying at the Nou Camp next season. The Cameroon international had been told he was not part of new coach Pep Guardiola's plans as wholesale changes are carried out at Barca following the Catalan club's second successive trophyless season. However, it now seems that some good showings during the club's pre-season tour of Scotland may have led to a change of heart. "Samuel's case is not irreversible, but will always be a technical and sporting decision," said Laporta.

"What is certain is that Eto'o has a contract with FC Barcelona and he is showing a good attitude during pre-season. "This case needs to be looked at deeply. The physical, psychological and sporting recovery of the player will greatly determine the outcome of this case." Laporta admitted Eto'o had received offers from other clubs, despite the fact that no decision on the player's future has yet been made. "He's well coveted," Laporta said. "He is a player of reference in his position."

The Barcelona president, who gave the press conference to announce the arrival of three new directors on the club's board, also revealed the club intend to travel on their up-coming tour of the United States with Lionel Messi despite the fact he has been included in the Argentina squad for the Olympic Games. Although Fifa rules state all players 23 and under must be released, the Catalan club are still hoping to prevent him from playing in Beijing.

Barca want Messi, 21, to be available for the preliminary round of the Champions League, set to be played on either August 12 or 13, but the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) are increasing the pressure on the Catalans. Fifa expect a judge to deliver a verdict in the club-versus-country row surrounding call-ups for the Olympics this week. * Reuters