Benoit Assou-Ekotto has never failed to hide his displeasure at modern football and the former Tottenham defender has now compared sponsorship deals to prostitution in a stunning rant.
The left-back, currently playing for Saint-Etienne, admitted to buying his boots from eBay as he’d “rather be free than to prostitute myself”.
Assou-Ekotto posted a picture on Instagram of Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart with the caption ‘Freedom!’ when he was released by Tottenham last year.
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So it’s fair to say the Cameroon international is wholly against the idea of sponsorship and being contracted to one club. Six years ago, he said playing football is “only a job”.
His latest outburst included a comment about African players not benefiting from sponsorship.
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He told Canal+, per the Daily Mail: “I’d rather be free than to prostitute myself for a sponsor.
“In all honesty, when you're an African player, it's not that interesting to have a sponsor.
“When you're European, it's better because business is done in Europe.”
Assou-Ekotto played seven seasons for Tottenham before joining QPR on loan for the 2013-14 campaign. He was released from the north London club in February 2015, causing the ‘Freedom!’ post.
In October 2011, the 31-year-old expressed his frustration at the money-grabbing nature of modern players, saying: “If a player is earning £3 somewhere and another club offers him £6, he will ask his current club to match that offer. If they don’t match it, he will move to another club.”
The left-back’s eight seasons in England mean he is a millionaire, yet he admitted to buying his boots for £23 on eBay.
“I buy shoes for €30 [£23],” he said.
“It’s a good price for comfortable boots. You can find them on eBay, and they’re not expensive.
“Being fashionable is expensive, but you’re more distinguished to be vintage.”
Assou-Ekotto is certainly unique. This is a player who has made a career out of playing football but who admitted the sport isn’t a passion.
His attitude towards the modern game is rather refreshing. In an era where players are willing to make excessive demands at the expense of their clubs, earning an extra penny seems to be the last of Assou-Ekotto’s concerns.
The defender has made 16 appearances for Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne this season following his signing in July 2015.
He went the entire 2014-15 season without a club but tweeted upon his signing at Saint-Etienne: “Officially at St Etienne so happy - back in football”.
Although he left in unceremonious terms, Tottenham’s impressive form won’t have escaped Assou-Ekotto’s notice.
His former team are second in the Premier League table and have a Europa League last 16 tie with Borussia Dortmund to look forward to.