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Mar 5, 2013

Cisse hails 'idol' Eto'o

Papiss Cisse has revealed his admiration for "idol" Samuel Eto'o, but is determined to see Newcastle progress past the Cameroon striker's club Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.

• Pardew: Anzhi a step up for Toon
• Coloccini out of Anzhi clash

Newcastle travel to Russia for the last 16 first-leg clash on Thursday, before welcoming Anzhi back to St James' Park the following week.

Eto'o is seen as the Russian side's biggest threat following a career with the likes of Inter Milan and Barcelona. Placing his respect for the player to one side, Cisse remains eager to see the Magpies progress into the quarter-finals of the competition, with the eventual hope of reaching the final in Amsterdam.

"He's an idol for me," Cisse told the Evening Chronicle. "Samuel [Eto'o] is an extraordinary player and somebody who has played at the very top level for club and country. He's one of the best attackers in the game. Samuel is somebody I have known for a long time and a person who I have a great deal of respect for. My job is to win games for Newcastle and I hope we win the games and get through.

"We can go far. You've seen how well we are doing and how well we did in Metalist. Everybody saw how well Shola Ameobi did in Ukraine. He won a lot of balls up front and scored a penalty. Our objective is to enjoy playing in the competition and to go as far as we can."

Meanwhile, for defender Steven Taylor, who made his Newcastle debut against Eto'o while he was at Real Mallorca, the opportunity to play against one of Europe's best attackers is one he is relishing.

"I am sure if I ask him he would say Steven who?" he said. "He will not have a clue who I am. I still have his shirt and it is framed in my house. He still has my shirt as his duster. He might bring it to the game with all the cobwebs on it! Seriously though, I never thought I would get to play against him ever again. The chance to play against a top-quality player like him is going to be good."

Paying their star striker £350,000 per-week, the Russian side have invested heavily in a squad that boasts a wealth of internationals stars.

Despite the financial advantage, Taylor remains confident his side have enough in their locker to overcome their opponents.

"They have spent a lot of money, but we have class in our team," he said. "The players we have here are quality. They will need to be just as worried about us. I think we have younger players with more energy who will be fresher on the pitch. That is what we have to use in Moscow. When you look at European defenders they do not like that physical contest.

"The last game we played in Europe, Shola absolutely bullied them. When you get the ball to him on the deck it is great because he has great feet for a big man. I just hope he produces the same type of performances as the last game. We want to get goals out there. If we can get a few under our belt that would be brilliant. I believe we can win the game out there with the players we have. There is no reason why we cannot. Even in the second half against Swansea we battered them."

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