Inspired by…Samuel Eto’o

Not all stories have to be violent and bloody. So is the story of Samuel Eto’o who is one of the best African players of all time. He had a tough life in his home Cameroon where he spent his childhood but fortunately for him it wasn’t marked by any tragedy at home.

His life wasn’t different from many Cameroonian families. He used to play in the dirty streets of his hometown and be a happy kid from the average family. The point with Africa is that there is no middle class as we see in Europe, most of the people live under the poverty line and struggle to survive and so was his family.

We don’t know much about his past only that his father was an accountant so he could bring some money home. Samuel Eto’o Fils was born on March 10, 1981, in Nkon, Cameroon. He enjoyed a relatively comfortable childhood and attended the Kadji Sports Academy in the city of Douala. As many other children in Africa he had a problem with proper ID and his attempt to go to French academy was rejected as his papers and age were not clear to academy management.

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Eto’o attempted to pitch Real Madrid and he got the chance to move to their academy in 1997. Surprisingly he wasn’t a star from the beginning. Real Madrid didn’t see it coming. Eto’o barely played for Real Madrid and was loaned to multiple clubs throughout the late 1990s — Leganes, Espanyol, Mallorca. At that time he already established himself as a key player for his country, leading Cameroon to championships at the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations and the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics but still unable to play for his club.

He spent 3 years on loans and finally, Real Madrid sold him to Mallorca. It might not have been the right time for him in Madrid, there might have been better players or someone judged him incorrectly. Otherwise, it was just destiny or his determination to proved them wrong.

Eto’o spent 4 strong years in Mallorca and scored almost 50 goals in 120 games. It was so good that Barcelona reached for him for 24 mln euro and bought him in 2004 where he enjoyed the next 5 years and established himself as a star. His Barcelona performance was a blast. He was fast, energetic and he could score. He had an entertaining style and, again, he could score! In 144 games he did that 108 times. Really impressive performance.

Eto’o moved to Inter from Barcelona and could enjoy more years in top clubs in Europe but he chose a strange move… to Russia. Anzhi Makhachkala, small but rich club managed by Russian billionaire offered him 20 mln euro salary per season. He became the top paid player in the world. He spent 2 years in Russia after which club scaled down and released all their stars.

Eto’o continued to play few more years for Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria and finally finishing in Qatar league.

Eto’o is currently running his football academy in Africa and is an active charity contributor. As a player, he was the first to come off the pitch during the game where he experienced racial abuse against him and was very outspoken about this type of behaviour pushing FIFA for anti-racism campaigns and bringing stadium bans to improper fans behaviour “It is something that has affected me personally. I think players, leaders, and the media have to join forces so that no one feels looked down upon because of the colour of their skin. At this moment in time, I prefer my children don’t go to football matches. In the stands, they have to listen to things that are difficult to explain to a child. It is better they aren’t exposed to it”