Barcelona ask Toure and Eto'o to skip African Nations Cup

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MADRID, Oct 17 (Reuters) Barcelona have asked Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure not to represent their countries at the African Nations Cup in Ghana in January.

''I don't know if they'll go and I hope they don't but we can't force them,'' Barca sports director Txiki Begiristain told Spanish radio station RAC1.

''For Eto'o it would be a strange year. Injury, recovery and then international duty. I asked Toure before we signed him.

''Ronaldinho did not go to the Copa America (in June) and it was a brave decision. But I understand how important they are for their countries.'' Eto'o, the three-times African Player of the Year, has been sidelined since the beginning of September after undergoing surgery on a thigh injury. Toure, who is also out with a thigh injury, joined Barca from Monaco in June.

Ronaldinho, along with AC Milan's Kaka, both asked to be left out of Dunga's Brazil squad for the Copa America in Venezuela in June, saying they needed a break from playing.

The African Nations Cup runs from January 20 to February 10.

REUTERS BJR AS1342

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