Former Cameroon and Barcelona football star Samuel Eto'o issued an apology yesterday after he was filmed kneeing an Algerian YouTuber in the face, after being approached by the social media personality following Brazil's 4-1 win over South Korea during the World Cup knockout stages in Doha, Qatar, the night before.
In the video, which has been widely shared on social media, the 41-year-old who is currently the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation and an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, was approached by fans for selfies as he left Stadium 974.
He was then approached by Said Mamouni who was holding a video camera and reportedly asked whether Eto'o had bribed the referee prior to Cameroon's World Cup qualifying playoff victory over Algeria in March. Eto'o has criticised Algerian fans since the contentious match, while Algeria complained to FIFA over the refereeing, initially demanding a re-match.
Samuel Etoo le président de la fédération camerounais a violemment frappé un Youtubeur algérien après que ce dernier lui a posé une question sur l'arbitre Gassama.
— Chebli Ishaq (@IshaqChebli) December 6, 2022
An enraged Eto'o can then be seen trying to pursue Mamouni and being restrained by others before breaking free and kneeing the blogger in the face. In a statement on Twitter, Eto'o admitted that he was involved in a "violent altercation".
"I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality," said the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker.
However his apology was addressed to "the public" and not to Mamouni. He also insisted that he had faced "relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters".
"I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence," he added.
Mamouni, for his part, confirmed that he did pose the question over bribery allegations involving Gambian referee Bakary Gassama. He has also since reported the attack to Qatari police and has claimed his camera was damaged in the altercation.
"I'm at the police station to file a complaint against Eto'o, he hit me and someone else with him pushed me and destroyed my camera," said Mamouni.
"I asked him how is Bakary Gassama [African World Cup playoff referee], and if he gave him a bribe, he hit me and destroyed both my camera and mic, I know I will take my rights here in Qatar as it is a state of law, he did hit me in the chest and the face and in my elbow."