BARCELONA - Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o could not hide his delight after making a stunning return to the Spanish league leaders' starting line-up in their emphatic 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
The three-time African Player of the Year scored one goal and made another to help Barcelona open up a two-point lead at the top of the Spanish first division.
"It was my turn to have a game like this because sometimes I was ready to go but couldn't play. It's my turn to enjoy myself," said Eto'o.
"I'm very happy to return to the starting line-up and to score," added the Cameroon striker.
Prior to Sunday's reappearance, which brought huge applause when he walked out on the Nou Camp pitch, he had only played eight minutes of football in a brief appearance three weeks ago after being out of action for four months with a knee injury.
His comeback, after starting his last game in September, was also heralded by Barca coach Frank Rijkaard, with whom Eto'o had a well-publicised row after he refused to come on as a substitute against Racing Santander on February 11.
"His presence and how he plays attracts the attention of rival defences and this creates more space for other players," commented Rijkaard.
"I'm very happy for Samuel because he's come back to the team in great shape," added the Dutch coach, seemingly forgetting their recent disagreement.
The triumphant return of Eto'o inevitably made headlines across the spectrum of the Spanish media yesterday. - Sapa-AFP