Professional Football Player
Samuel Eto'o Fils (French pronunciation: [samɥɛl eto fis] is a Cameroonian footballer who plays as a striker for Italian Serie A club Internazionale and is currently serving as captain of the Cameroon national team.
Eto'o scored over 100 goals in five seasons with FC Barcelona, and is also the record holder in number of appearances by an African player in La Liga. As of June 2009, he is the joint 3rd highest goalscorer in Barça's history, along with Rivaldo. He is the second player to have ever scored in two separate UEFA Champions League finals.
As a member of the Cameroon national team, he was a part of the squad that won the 2000 Olympic tournament; he has participated in two World Cups and five African Nations Cups (being champion twice), and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Nations Cup, with 18 goals.
Samuel Eto'o joined Real Madrid in 1997, but he could only train with Real Madrid B, as he was still a minor. Real Madrid B were relegated to the Segunda División B, where non-EU players are not allowed, and as a result he was loaned to second-division CD Leganés for the 199697 season. After making 30 appearances for the club and only scoring 4 goals, he returned to Madrid following the end of the 199798 season. In January 1999, he was loaned out to Espanyol, but failed to make any appearances for the club.
The same season, in the winter transfer window, he went to first-division team Mallorca on loan, scoring 6 goals in 13 games. At the end of the season, Eto'o left Real Madrid, signing a permanent deal with Mallorca for a club record £4.4 million fee.
In his second season, he scored 11 goals and began to garner attention throughout the league. Mallorca club president Mateo Alemany said of his style of play: "I doubt if there is any other player in the world who would please the fans more at this moment." Eto'o himself commented on his rise to stardom, "I like it here in Mallorca, I have always been well looked after, the fans appreciate me and I also have a contract that runs until 2007." He returned the fans' appreciation when he donated 30,000 in meals to travelling Mallorca supporters who made the journey to the Copa del Rey final against Recreativo Huelva in 2003. Mallorca won the match 30 with Eto'o scoring two late goals to seal the victory. However, his volatile attitude resulted in several off-pitch incidents. Bartolome Terrassa, a television journalist, filed a formal complaint after a run-in with Eto'o in the club's parking lot, accusing the player of saying, "The next time, you are not going to escape; I'm going to kill you." This was not the first incident, however, as the previous year Eto'o's former agent, Daniel Argibeaut, accused the player of assaulting him with four accomplices, saying, "They then took off my shoes, which in Cameroon means I am threatened with death."
Eto'o departed Mallorca as the club's all-time leading domestic league scorer (54 goals) when he signed for FC Barcelona in the summer of 2004 for a transfer fee of 24 million, after lengthy three-way negotiations with Mallorca and Madrid.Initially, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez wanted to buy back the full transfer rights and loan him out again but eventually the Barcelona deal proved lucrative enough to warrant a sale. Additionally, the team already had its full quota of three non-EU players.
Eto'o made his Barcelona debut in the season opener at Racing Santander on 29 August 2004. After Barcelona won the 200405 La Liga title, the team organized a festive party in the Camp Nou, during which Eto'o harangued the fans chanting, "Madrid, cabrón, saluda al campeón" (roughly: "Madrid, bastards, salute the champions"). The Spanish Football Federation fined Eto'o 12,000 for his comments, for which he later apologized. He expressed regret and asked for forgiveness from Real Madrid, his first professional team. The head of the Real Madrid fan club federation remained unimpressed however, stating: "This character is a fantastic player, but he leaves a lot to be desired as a person." He signed an improved contract with Barça in June 2005. A few days later Lionel Messi agreed a similar deal.
After missing out on the previous year's Pichichi (top La Liga goalscorer), Eto'o edged out Valencia CF striker David Villa for the award during the final matchday on 20 May 2006 when he scored his 26th goal of the season against Athletic Bilbao. Eto'o was very gracious to teammates after the game saying, "It has been a team effort although only one person gets the award. We've worked hard all season and have got our just rewards."
Eto'o also contributed six goals during Barcelona's run to the 200506 Champions League title. In the final, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off early on for bringing down Eto'o just outside of the penalty area, but the Catalans struggled to capitalize on their one-man advantage until Eto'o scored the game-tying goal in the second half. Barcelona went on to win the match 21 and Eto'o was awarded with the UEFA Best Forward of the Year award for his accomplishments in the European campaign.
Eto'o also won an historic third consecutive African Player of the Year award that season. He said in his acceptance speech, "Above all, I dedicate this to all the children of Africa." He was also selected to his second straight FIFPro World XI and finished third in the running for the FIFA World Player of the Year, making him only the second African footballer ever to be voted into the top three.
The season started badly for Eto'o as he ruptured the meniscus in his right knee during Barcelona's Champions League group stage match against Werder Bremen on 27 September 2006. Barcelona team physician Ricard Pruna originally estimated that the injury would keep him out of action for two to three months. After the operation Eto'o's recovery time was extended to five months but he resumed training with Barcelona in early January 2007.
Eto'o refused to come on as a substitute in a league match against Racing Santander on 11 February 2007. Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard said after the match, "He did not want to come on; I don't know why." Ronaldinho was critical of Eto'o's actions, saying that Eto'o was not putting the team first but Eto'o rebutted the comment, claiming that he did not come on because he did not have enough time to warm up properly. Three months later, Eto'o said, "These kind of things are usually just speculation and don't come through to me. However, if it is true that I am a problem for my team then I will go. But like I said, I am happy here. The press can write what they want." Following the comments, Barcelona president Joan Laporta was quick to quash rumours of transfers involving Eto'o and Ronaldinho.
After aggravating a meniscus injury on 28 August during a summer friendly against Internazionale, Eto'o was sidelined indefinitely. On 17 October, in the midst of his recovery period, he gained Spanish citizenship. He was cleared to play again on 4 December, and returned to the side a week later in Barcelona's 21 league win over Deportivo La Coruña.
Eto'o recorded his first league hat-trick in a match against UD Levante on 24 February 2008. He finished with a total of 16 league goals in 18 appearances for the season. On 25 October, he recorded the fastest hat-trick in club history after netting three times in 23 minutes in a victory over UD Almería. Only two games later, on November 8, 2008, Eto'o scored four goals in the first half of Barcelona's game vs. Real Valladolid, which ended 60.
On 29 November 2008, he scored his 111th career Barcelona goal in all competitions in a 30 road win over Sevilla, moving him into the club's top ten all-time goalscorers.
On 14 February 2009, he scored his 99th and his 100th league goals for Barcelona in a 22 draw with Real Betis. Eto'o scored his 30th goal of the 200809 season in a La Liga match against Real Valladolid. The game ended 10 and meant that Barcelona kept a 6 point lead over Real Madrid in the league. He also scored against Villarreal CF in the game that put Barcelona one point away from lifting the 200809 La Liga.
Eto'o scored the opening goal in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester United. Barcelona went on to win the final 20, thus completing the Treble.
After Maxwell completed the transfer from Internazionale, Joan Laporta confirmed that there was an agreement in principle between Barcelona and Internazionale for Zlatan Ibrahimović to join the club in exchange for Eto'o and 46 million. After Ibrahimović agreed terms with Barcelona, the club announced Eto'o would travel to Milan for his medical to complete the transfer.
On 27 July 2009 Eto'o passed his medical and signed for five years with Internazionale. On his first press-conference in Milan he declared that he was where he wanted to be and refused to compare himself to Ibrahimović saying: "I'm Samuel Eto'o and I don't want to compare myself to anyone. I believe the victories I have earned up to now can contribute to giving the right value to my name." On the 8th August, Eto'o scored his first competitive goal for Inter, in the 2009 Supercoppa Italiana. Two weeks later, Eto'o scored from the penalty spot against A.S. Bari in his first Serie A match. In the following match, the Milan Derby, Eto'o won Inter a penalty, after being brought down by Gennaro Gattuso in the box. This was important because that penalty caused Gattuso to be yellow-carded. He would eventually be sent off. Eto'o scored again on 13 September against Parma, his first goal from open play in a Serie A match.
At the end of September 2009, Eto'o demanded almost £2.75m from Barcelona after his transfer to Internazionale. The amount represented 15% of the US$29 million (£17.7m) fee which Inter paid Barcelona in July 2009. The demand was based on a Spanish rule that a player should get 15% of the amount of his transfer to another Spanish club. If the parties failed to reach a solution the matter could go to court.
Eto'o scored two goals during a thrilling win over Palermo which ended 53, with a brace also being scored by Mario Balotelli. Eto'o also scored in the Champion's league round-of-16 against Chelsea, in the 2nd leg on 16 March 2010, which allowed Inter to progress to the quarter-finals.
Eto'o earned his first cap with Cameroon at age 15 on 9 March 1996, in a 50 friendly loss to Costa Rica. In 1998, he was the youngest participant in the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he appeared in a 30 group stage loss to Italy on 17 June 1998, at the age of 17 years and three months. Eto'o scored his sole goal of the 2002 World Cup when he netted the game-winner against Saudi Arabia during the group stage on 6 June 2002, which was Cameroon's only win of the competition.
Eto'o was a part of the squads that won the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, and was a gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, in which Cameroon finished as runners-up, he scored his only goal in a 10 group-stage upset of Brazil on 19 June. Cameroon were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations after Eto'o missed the decisive penalty in a 1211 shoot-out loss to Côte d'Ivoire following a 11 draw, but he nonetheless finished as the top scorer of the tournament with five goals. He missed a team practice before the quarterfinals to attend the CAF African Footballer of the Year award ceremonies in Togo.
In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Eto'o became joint leading goalscorer (along with Laurent Pokou) in the competition's history after scoring his fourteenth goal with a penalty against Zambia on 26 January 2008. In the following game against Sudan on 30 January, Eto'o converted another penalty to become the tournament's all time leading scorer, followed by another goal in the same match that took his Cup of Nations tally to 16. He finished as the top scorer for the second consecutive tournament, matching his 2006 total of five goals.
On 1 June 2008, Eto'o headbutted reporter Philippe Bony, following an incident at a press conference. Bony suffered an injury, but Eto'o later apologized for the altercation, offering to pay Bony's medical expenses.
In the 2010 World Cup qualification match against Gabon, Eto'o scored a goal in the 68th minute. He followed it up with another goal in the home fixture. He now leads the scoring chart with eight qualification goals. Eto'o scored in the World Cup Qualification match against Morocco to win Cameroon a spot in the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
On Tuesday December 1, 2009 Eto'o came in 5th for the Ballon d'Or, which was taken by his former teammate Lionel Messi.