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Apr 30, 2009

My future is with Barcelona, insist Eto'o

Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o has moved to end speculation linking him with a switch to the Premier League by declaring he wants to sign a new deal to keep him at the Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old, who has scored a remarkable 27 goals in 31 league games this season, will be out of contract in just over a year and Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City have all shown an interest in signing the striker.

Barca president Joan Laporta met with City chief executive Garry Cook in London earlier in the week but both clubs claimed it was nothing more than a contact-building meeting.

"My future is with Barca. If I wasn't happy where, I would already have told [Joan Laporta]," Eto'o told Spanish television programme Hora Q.

"If it was up to him, we would already have sat down to discuss the issue, but because of what's at stake for us and out of respect for my colleagues, now is not the time to talk about wages or whether I will stay on for another five or six years.

"When the season finishes and everything goes well, Pep [Guardiola] will tell me that he's happy with me and to go talk to [Laporta]."

The future of the Cameroon international has been in doubt since Barca attempted to offload him in the summer following a difficult season under coach Frank Rijkaard; but potential suitors were unwilling to meet the asking price.

Since then the striker has flourished under new manager Pep Guardiola and now forms one part of the Champions League semi-finalist's formidable attacking trio, along with Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi.

Turning his attention to Saturday's "El Clasico" with Real Madrid, who trail Liga leaders Barcelona by four points, Eto'o insisted all the pressure is on their arch-rivals for what is being billed as a title deciding showdown.

"We go to the Bernabeu with a four-point margin but they are convinced that we will leave with just a one-point advantage. But I wouldn't write us off," Eto'o said. "I think we look good for a 1-0 win and that will be enough."

"For us, the league is not determined at the Bernabeu, but for Madrid, this is their last chance to try and overtake us at the top. If we win, it will be a huge blow to them. We still have two other games at home and with the help of our fans, it's difficult to lose."

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