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By ESPN Staff
May 21, 2006

Eto'o credits Barca team mates with top scorer award

MADRID, May 21 (Reuters) - Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o gave the credit to his team mates after he finished the Primera Liga season as top scorer with 26 goals.

The Cameroon international scored the opener in his side's 3-1 away defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, in their delayed final game, to finish one ahead of Valencia's David Villa.

'It has been a team effort although only one person gets the award. We have worked hard all season and have got our just rewards,' Eto'o told reporters after the game.

It was a weakened side that ran out in San Mames with international players called up for the World Cup barred from playing by FIFA. Ronaldinho, Deco, Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez were all missing.

The game was of little consequence for either side with Barca already crowned league champions and Bilbao safe from relegation.

Also, the match came three days after Barca had beaten Arsenal 2-1 in the Champions League final in Paris to earn their second European Cup.

Barca coach Frank Rijkaard professed himself satisfied with his team's performance though they clearly eased off after Eto'o's goal.

'Given the circumstances we have achieved our objectives,' he said. 'One was to help Eto'o score his goal, and the other was to give the youngsters a chance to help the team.

'Everyone did their bit and left a good impression.'

Absent from the bench alongside Rijkaard was his number two Henk ten Cate who left to become Ajax coach on Friday.

'He has left but I am pleased for him because he has earned a chance to coach a great team,' he added.

Ten Cate has signed a two-year contract with Ajax, replacing the sacked Danny Blind.