Samuel Eto’o winning race to face PSG
Chelsea striker trained in Cobham on the eve of the Champions League quarter-final second leg
Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o (right) warms up during a team training session at their in Cobham, Surrey. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA
Samuel Eto’o has offered Chelsea hope that he might yet be available for Tuesday’s return leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain after the Cameroon striker played a part in training at Cobham.
The striker, who turned 33 last month, has been absent from the first-team since suffering a hamstring strain during the 6-0 victory over Arsenal on 22 March. Eto’o had hoped to play a part at Parc des Princes last week but was not fit enough to travel. He sat out Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win over Stoke and ventured out on to the training pitch on Monday morning, joking with Fernando Torres and Mikel John Obi as he walked with his team-mates from the main building and out on to the pitch.
Eto’o undertook his own stretching routine, working with the assistant first-team coach Rui Faria, while Jose Mourinho’s squad conducted their warmup. The fact the striker was not able to play a full part from the start is an indication of the serious doubts still surrounding his participation against PSG. That he felt able to feature at all represents progress, with Mourinho and his fitness staff now to monitor his fitness before deciding whether or not to start the game with the Cameroonian.
His availability would represent a huge boost to Chelsea as they attempt to claw back a 3-1 deficit from the first leg. Eto’o has scored 11 goals this season, all at Stamford Bridge, and is the most prolific of the club’s three available strikers. The last of his goals had opened the scoring early on against Arsenal. He has registered in each of his last three appearances having also been on the scoresheet against Tottenham Hotspur and Galatasaray.
If Eto’o is not deemed to be ready for the second leg, Mourinho is likely to select Torres – who was dropped for the first game, with Andre Schürrle preferred as a makeshift number nine – ahead of Demba Ba for the role.
Chelsea’s options are limited against PSG, with Ramires suspended following his third booking of the competition at Parc des Princes. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, who trained with the squad, are ineligible with Marco van Ginkel, who has featured for three times for the under-21s since recovering from knee ligament damage suffered in a League Cup tie at Swindon last autumn, a possibility for the substitutes’ bench alongside such as Nathan Ake and Tomas Kalas.