It's not often you'll see that type of headline on rferl.org. But Uzbek soccer club Kuruvchi have announced
the signing of Barcelona superstar striker Samuel Eto'o on their website.
"Eto'o will arrive in Tashkent on Thursday and he will sign a contract with our club, at least up until the end of 2008," the club's representative told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service.
How much money Kuruvchi have offered Eto'o is not clear. In 2004, Barcelona signed the star for 24 million euros ($38 million). He reportedly earns a reputed $256,000 a week. Players at the Uzbek club, which took second place in the country's national league last season, probably earn, well, quite a lot less than Eto'o.
Barcelona have quickly distanced themselves
from the reports, denying any knowledge of the move. In an interview with RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, a spokesperson from the Spanish club said: "Samuel Eto'o is on vacation. Nobody at the club knows anything about this and I really don't think it is very likely." If true, as Britain's "Daily Telegraph" reports
, it would be "arguably one of the biggest coups in football transfer history."
Kuruvchi is sponsored by the Zeromax oil company, which belongs to Uzbek President Islam Karimov's daughter, Gulnara Karimova.
-- Khurmat Babadjanov