Samuel Eto’o is one of the greatest ever African footballers
Winning the Champions League
He also scored six goals in Barcelona’s Champions League campaign. That season, Barca reached the final where they faced Arsenal.
Eto’o was fouled by Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann when he was through on goal. Lehmann was sent off but it was Arsenal who took the lead and Barcelona struggled to get past their opponent’s 10 men.
Eventually, Eto’o scored a vital equaliser and Barcelona went on to win the game. At the time it was only the second ever time that they had been crowned European Champions.
At the end of the year, Eto’o was named African Player of the Year for the third year in a row. UEFA also named Eto’o as their Forward of the Year and he came third in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards behind Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard.
Arguments with key figures at club
Eto’o fell out with teammate Ronaldinho and coach, Frank Rijkaard, when they critised him for refusing to come on as substitute during a game against Racing de Santander in 2007.
Eto’o said he refused to go on because he hadn’t had enough time to warm up properly. He said that he didn’t want to leave Barcelona but he would if he was a problem for the team.
However, the Barcelona president stated that Eto’o would not be sold and he actually stayed at the club for longer than both Rijkaard and Ronaldinho.
Eto’o’s first treble
In 2009, Eto’o helped Barcelona to an historic treble of La Liga title, Copa del Rey and Champions League. Barcelona played Manchester United in the Champions League final in a game that pitted Lionel Messi against Christiano Ronaldo.
However, it was Eto’o who stole the show by scoring the all important first goal as Barcelona won the game 2-0.
It was Eto’o’s last season for Barcelona and he finished his career in Spain in some style after two trophy less seasons. He left after five years having scored 108 goals in 145 games for the club.
In 2009, Barcelona signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Internazionale. Eto’o went the other way as part of the deal. Eto’o did not feel inferior to Ibrahimovic and said that he didn’t want to be compared to the Swedish striker as his career record speaks for itself.
He spent two years at Inter and added more significant trophies to his already impressive collection. In his first season he became the only ever player to win two trebles in consecutive seasons.
Inter won the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia. They also won the Champions League with a comfortable victory over Bayern Munich in the final.
His second season wasn’t as successful, Inter lost their Serie A title to their fierce rivals, AC Milan and were eliminated from the Champions League in the Quarter Final by German side Schalke 04. They did have something to celebrate though as they retained the Coppa Italia.
Eto’o left Inter at the end of the 2010-11 season after scoring 33 goals in 67 games.
In 2011, Eto’o shocked the football world by leaving Inter and joining Russian side, Anzhi Makhackala. He became the world’s highest paid player, earning a reported €20 million a year but he received some criticism from some quarters for apparently lacking ambition by joining a lesser league when he could have remained at the highest level.
However, from Eto’o’s point of view, he had achieved so much and had a fantastic career in Spain and Italy and was excited by the challenge of improving the profile of the Russian league as well as just receiving a big payday in the twilight years of his career.