Vincent Enyeama believes former Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o should have won the world’s best player award before he called time on his career in September.
The ex-Nigeria international made the statement while making a case for Africans’ outstanding performances abroad in relation to the coverage they get from the media.
During his time in Lille, Enyeama kept 21 clean sheets in the 2013-14 Ligue 1 campaign and went on to clinch the Ligue 1 African Player of the Year award for 2014.
When quizzed about his relationship with the French media, the 37-year-old claimed he deserved much more respect and made a case for Eto’o, who came third at the 2005 Fifa World Player of the Year award ceremony behind Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard.
“I told them French media to their face, it is good to criticize Vincent when he makes a mistake but you all need to praise Vincent as you do to other goalkeepers,” Enyeama told Get French Football News.
“You don’t praise me when I play good games, you don’t give me the hype. When I deserve an award, you don’t give them to me but when I make mistakes you blast me like I made heaven came to earth. It is ok because I’m African and I’m not French, some of these things happen.
“It is like you want to compare Jay-Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto’o and some of the world best players. It’s like when Eto’o deserved to have won the world’s best player at a point in his career because he was just too good.
“But he never had it because there’s one Ronaldinho who is Brazilian and one Shevchenko who is Ukrainian. I’m used to this thing but it is painful.
“I don’t think it is intentional. It is just normal, sometimes you don’t like this particular person so much no matter what he does, you don’t praise him.”
Despite the underwhelming reception from the media, Enyeama disclosed that having his family present in the stadium was a memorable moment for him.
“I was not out to prove people wrong, I was out to enjoy football that anytime I keep a keep sheet, I rejoice,” he added.
“But there was a time when I saw myself conceding goals, I was crying behind the scenes at home. Having my kids watch me play was joy for me.”