Samuel Eto'o Fils (French pronunciation: [samɥɛl eto fis]; born 10 March 1981) is a Cameroonian football administrator and former player who is the current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.[1] He won the African Player of the Year a record four times:[6] in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010.

Samuel Eto'o
Eto'o in 2011
President of Cameroonian Football Federation
Assumed office
11 December 2021[1]
Preceded bySeidou Mbombo Njoya
Personal details
Samuel Eto'o Fils[2]

(1981-03-10) 10 March 1981 (age 43)
Douala, Cameroon[3]
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[4][5]
Football administrator

Association football career
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1992–1996 Kadji Sports Academy
1996–1997 Real Madrid
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2000 Real Madrid 3 (0)
1997–1998Leganés (loan) 28 (3)
1999Espanyol (loan) 0 (0)
2000Mallorca (loan) 13 (6)
2000–2004 Mallorca 120 (48)
2004–2009 Barcelona 144 (108)
2009–2011 Inter Milan 67 (33)
2011–2013 Anzhi Makhachkala 53 (25)
2013–2014 Chelsea 21 (9)
2014–2015 Everton 14 (3)
2015 Sampdoria 18 (2)
2015–2018 Antalyaspor 76 (44)
2018 Konyaspor 13 (6)
2018–2019 Qatar SC 17 (6)
Total 587 (293)
International career
2000 Cameroon U23 6 (1)
1997–2014 Cameroon 118 (56)
Managerial career
2015–2016 Antalyaspor (interim player-manager)
Medal record
Men's Football
Representing  Cameroon
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney Team
Africa Cup of Nations
Winner 2000 Ghana–Nigeria
Winner 2002 Mali
Runner-up 2008 Ghana
FIFA Confederations Cup
Runner-up 2003 France
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

A precocious talent, Eto'o moved to Real Madrid as a 16 year old. Due to competition in his position with more experienced players, he had several loan spells, before signing for Mallorca in 2000 where he scored 70 goals, a club record.[7] His impressive form saw him join Barcelona in 2004 where he scored 130 goals in five seasons and also became the record holder for the most appearances by an African player in La Liga.[8] Winning La Liga three times, he was a key member of the Barcelona attack, alongside Ronaldinho, that won the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, with Eto'o scoring in the final, and was part of a front three of Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry that won the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, with Eto'o again scoring in the final. He is the second player in history to score in two UEFA Champions League finals.[9] At Barcelona, Eto'o came in third for the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2005 and was twice named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI, in 2005 and 2006.

He signed with Inter Milan for the 2009–10 season, where he became the first player to win two European continental trebles following his back-to-back achievements with Barcelona and Inter. He is the fourth player in Champions League history, after Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa, and Gerard Piqué, to have won the trophy two years in a row with different teams.[10] After brief spells with Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, and Sampdoria, Eto'o found prolific form again in the Süper Lig with Antalyaspor having scored 44 goals in 76 league games. In 2015, he received the Golden Foot Award.

As a member of the Cameroon national team, Eto'o was a part of the squad that won the Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympics. He also won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002. Eto'o has participated in four World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations. He is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, with 18 goals, and is Cameroon's all-time leading scorer and third most capped player, with 56 goals in 118 caps.[11] Eto'o announced his retirement from international football in August 2014.

Club career

Real Madrid

Having trained at the Kadji Sports Academy in Cameroon, Eto'o joined Real Madrid's youth academy in 1997, but he could only train with Real Madrid B, as he was still a minor.[12] Real Madrid B were relegated to the third tier, Segunda División B, where non-EU players are not allowed, and as a result, he was loaned to second division Leganés for the 1997–98 season.[13] After making 30 appearances for the club and only scoring four goals, he returned to Madrid following the end of the 1998–99 season. In January 1999, he was loaned out to Espanyol,[14] but made only one appearance for the club, against Real Valladolid in Copa del Rey.


The next season, in the winter transfer window, he transferred to La Liga team Mallorca on loan, where he scored six goals in 19 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 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 de Huelva in 2003. Mallorca won the match 3–0, with Eto'o scoring two late goals to seal the victory. Eto'o also scored in two consecutive away wins against his former club Real Madrid: the first, a 1-5 thrashing, the only home loss of the Madrilenian club who went to win the 2002-03 La Liga.;[15] the second ended with a 2-3 result that denied a back-to-back La Liga win for Real.[16]


2004–07: Transfer, Pichichi Trophy and first Champions League title

Eto'o playing for Barcelona in August 2008

Eto'o departed Mallorca as the club's all-time leading domestic league scorer (54 goals) when he signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2004 for a transfer fee of €24 million, after lengthy, three-way negotiations with Mallorca and Madrid.[17] 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.[18] Additionally, the team already had its full quota of three non-EU players.[17]

Eto'o made his Barcelona debut in the season opener at Racing de Santander on 29 August 2004. After Barcelona won the 2004–05 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" (English for, "Madrid, bastards, salute the champions"). The Royal 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."[19] He signed an improved contract with Barcelona in June 2005.[20]

After missing out on the previous year's Pichichi trophy, which is given to the top scorer in La Liga, Eto'o edged out Valencia 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."[21]

Eto'o also contributed six goals during Barcelona's run to the 2005–06 Champions League title. In the final, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off early on for bringing down Eto'o just outside 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 2–1, and Eto'o was awarded with the UEFA Best Forward of the Year award for his accomplishments in the European campaign.[22][23]

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."[24] 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, after the Liberian star George Weah, to be voted into the top three.[25][26]

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.[27] After the operation, Eto'o's recovery time was extended to five months, but he resumed training with Barcelona in early January 2007.[28][29]

2007–09: More trophies, the Treble and departure

Eto'o holding off Patrice Evra of Manchester United in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final

Eto'o refused to come on as a substitute in a league match against Racing de 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."[30] 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.[31][32] 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.[33]

After aggravating a meniscus injury on 28 August during a summer friendly against Inter Milan, Eto'o was sidelined indefinitely.[34] On 17 October, in the midst of his recovery period, he gained Spanish citizenship.[35] He was cleared to play again on 4 December, and returned to the side a week later in Barcelona's 2–1 league win over Deportivo de La Coruña.[36][37]

Pep Guardiola was appointed as Barcelona's new manager for the 2008–09 season. The coach made headlines by announcing that stars such as Ronaldinho, Deco, and Eto'o were not part of his plans; Eto'o ultimately remained with the club, while the other two players departed, although Eto'o and Guardiola had several reported disagreements throughout the season.[38][39] Eto'o recorded his first league hat-trick in a match against Levante on 24 February 2008.[40] He finished with a total of 16 league goals in 18 appearances for the season.[41]

On 25 October, Eto'o recorded the fastest hat-trick in club history after netting three times in 23 minutes in a victory over Almería.[42] Only two games later, on 8 November 2008, Eto'o scored four goals in the first half of Barcelona's game against Real Valladolid, which ended 6–0. On 29 November 2008, he scored his 111th career Barcelona goal in all competitions in a 3–0 road win over Sevilla, moving him into the club's top ten all-time goalscorers.[43]

On 14 February 2009, he scored his 99th and his 100th league goals for Barcelona in a 2–2 draw with Real Betis. Eto'o scored his 30th goal of the 2008–09 season in a La Liga match against Real Valladolid. The game ended 1–0 and meant that Barcelona kept a six-point lead over Real Madrid in the league. He also scored against Villarreal in the game that put Barcelona one point away from lifting the 2008–09 La Liga trophy. He scored 30 goals in the season, finishing second in the Pichichi Trophy goalscorers list behind Atlético de Madrid's Diego Forlán.

Eto'o scored the opening goal in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester United. Barcelona went on to win the final 2–0, thus completing the Treble. The trio of Lionel Messi (38 goals), Eto'o (36 goals) and Thierry Henry (26 goals) scored exactly 100 goals between them in the club's historic treble year.[44]

Inter Milan

Eto’o playing for Inter Milan in August 2009.

2009–10: Historical treble-winning campaign

After Maxwell completed the transfer from Inter Milan, Joan Laporta confirmed that there was an agreement in principle between Barcelona and Inter Milan for Zlatan Ibrahimović to join the club in exchange for Eto'o and €46 million.[45][46] After Ibrahimović agreed terms with Barcelona, the club announced Eto'o would travel to Milan for his medical to complete the transfer.[47]

On 27 July 2009, Eto'o passed his medical and signed for five years with Inter.[48] 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."[49] On 8 August, Eto'o scored on his competitive debut in the 2009 Supercoppa Italiana as Inter lost 1–2 to Lazio.[50] Two weeks later, Eto'o scored from the penalty spot against Bari in his first Serie A match.[51] In the following match, the Derby della Madonnina against Milan, Eto'o won Inter a penalty after being brought down by Gennaro Gattuso in the box; Milito scored the penalty and Gattuso was yellow carded and eventually sent off. Inter won the match 4–0.[52] Eto'o scored again on 13 September against Parma, his first goal from open play in a Serie A match.[53]

At the end of September 2009, Eto'o demanded almost £2.75 million from Barcelona after his transfer to Inter. The amount represented 15% of the £17.7 million (US$29 million) 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.[54]

Eto'o playing in the UEFA Champions League with Inter Milan, a competition he would win for the third time in his career

Eto'o scored his first Serie A brace on 29 October during a 5–3 win over Palermo, with Mario Balotelli also scoring twice.[55] On 1 December 2009, Eto'o finished fifth in voting for the Ballon d'Or, which was won by his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.[56] Eight days later, he scored his first UEFA Champions League goal for the team in the final Group F match against Rubin Kazan to help Inter win 2–0 at home and progress to the knockout stage as runner-ups.[57] Eto'o continued to be a protagonist for Inter in Europe, netting the winner in the second leg of 2009–10 UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Chelsea on 16 March 2010, which allowed Inter to progress to the quarter-finals.[58] He scored his first goal in Coppa Italia on 13 April against Fiorentina in the second of semi-finals to help Inter win 1–0 at Stadio Artemio Franchi and progress in the final 2–0 on aggregate.[59] Eto'o won his first silverware with the club on 5 May as Inter defeated Roma 1–0 at Stadio Olimpico to lift the Coppa Italia.[60] His 12 Serie A goals helped Inter claim another championship, the fifth consecutive, after defeating Siena in the final matchday.[61] On 22 May 2010, Eto'o played in the third Champions League final of his career, as Inter won 2–0 over Bayern Munich to win the first title in 45 years; Milito scored both goals, with Eto'o setting up the second.[62] With Inter's triumph over Bayern Munich, he became the only player to win the treble in consecutive seasons with two different teams.[63]

2010–11: Most goals in one season, more trophies and departure

On 21 August 2010, Eto'o scored twice as Inter beat Roma 3–1 to win the Supercoppa Italiana.[64] His first hat trick for Inter occurred in the UEFA Champions League against Werder Bremen on 29 September 2010.[65] Inter won the game 4–0, with Eto'o saying, "We will remain humble because we know that there are sides out there that are better than us, so we will just take it one match at a time and we will go as far as it takes us."[66] In December, Eto'o played in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup;[67] he scored against TP Mazembe in the final as Inter won 3–0 and lifted their fifth trophy of the year.[68] Additionally, he was named the best player of the tournament.[69]

Continuing his outstanding form in Serie A and in the Champions League for the 2010–11 campaign, he was pivotal to Inter's attack line.[70] On 16 March 2011, Eto'o gave a legendary performance in Munich as he helped Inter eliminate Bayern Munich 3–2 (with an aggregate score of 3–3, winning on away goals) in the Champions League. Eto'o scored the first goal after four minutes, and provided two clinical assists to Wesley Sneijder and to Goran Pandev for the winner.[71] After the game, Inter President Massimo Moratti said, "I'm not sure if the deal that brought Eto'o to the club was my best piece of transfer business ever, but I really think it was a great piece of business for us. Eto'o is fantastic. I do not want to take anything away from Ibrahimović, but for everyone it was really a great deal to get Eto'o. Samuel is truly extraordinary." On 29 May, Eto'o scored two goals in the final of the Coppa Italia against Palermo to help Inter win 3–1 and taking his total season goals to 37, a new record high for him.[72]

On 25 August 2011, Eto'o announced his departure from Inter Milan via an open letter to the fans.[73]

Anzhi Makhachkala

Eto'o with Anzhi Makhachkala (with "Podari Zhizn" logo) in a Russian Cup game against Dynamo Moscow, September 2011

On 23 August 2011, Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala reached an agreement with Inter to sign Eto'o in a three-year deal that made him the world's highest-paid player, with a salary of €20 million (after taxes) per season.[74][75] Eto'o made his debut for Anzhi on 27 August 2011 against Rostov when he came on as a substitute with 30 minutes left in the game, later scoring an equalizer in the 80th minute from a cross by Yuri Zhirkov.[76] Eto'o scored the opening goal in a 5–3 defeat[77] at home to CSKA Moscow[78] leaving his side four points above Krasnodar with only two games left for qualification to the Championship Group.

At the end of the 2012–13 Russian Premier League, Eto'o made it to the Top 33 players of the Season list as the #1 Right Striker.[79] Anzhi's billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov shocked the Russian football world by deciding in August 2013 to scale down the club's ambitions and drastically shrink its budget.[80] As a result, almost all of the star players, previously signed in a bid to make the club world-beaters, were available on the transfer market.[81]


Eto'o with Chelsea in 2014

On 29 August 2013, Eto'o signed a one-year deal with English Premier League club Chelsea for an undisclosed fee.[82] He scored his first goal for Chelsea on 19 October 2013 against Cardiff City, in which he gave Chelsea the lead.[83] In Chelsea's home Champions League match against Schalke 04 on 6 November, Eto'o scored twice in a 3–0 victory.[84] In Eto'o's first league start of 2014, on 19 January, he scored his first Premier League hat-trick for Chelsea, earning the Blues a 3–1 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.[85] On 8 March, Eto'o opened scoring in Chelsea's 4–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur when defender Jan Vertonghen sent a backpass straight into his path. It was the 300th goal in his club career.[86]

In the second leg of Chelsea's Champions League round of 16 tie with Galatasaray, Eto'o gave the Blues a fourth-minute early lead with his tenth goal of the season, a match they would go on to win 2–0.[87] Eto'o continued his good form after scoring another early goal, in the fifth minute, against Arsenal on 22 March. However, he was then substituted after ten minutes for Fernando Torres after picking up a slight injury; Chelsea went on to win the match 6–0.[88]


Eto'o's contract with Chelsea expired at the end of the 2013–14 season,[89][90] and on 26 August 2014, he joined fellow English Premier League side Everton, signing a two-year contract.[91] He made his debut four days later, scoring one goal with a header in a 3–6 home defeat to Chelsea.[92] On 26 October, Eto'o bagged a brace for Everton, heading in the opening goal and curling in a strike from outside the area, as the Toffees defeated Burnley 3−1.[93]

He stated that he wanted to win the UEFA Europa League with Everton, a tournament which he had never won before.[94] However, Eto'o left halfway through his first season at Everton, having scored four goals in 20 games across all competitions for them.[95]

Later career and retirement

On 27 January 2015, Eto'o returned to the Italian Serie A, joining Sampdoria on a two-and-a-half-year deal.[95]

On 25 June 2015, Eto'o moved to Turkish side Antalyaspor on a three-year contract.[96] He made his debut on 15 August 2015 in a league match against İstanbul Başakşehir, scoring two goals and helping Antalyaspor win 3–2. Eto'o had a blistering start to the season, scoring 13 goals in his first 15 games, and was named the interim player-manager for the team after the previous coach, Yusuf Şimşek, was sacked on 7 December.[97] He continued in this capacity until José Morais was hired as Şimşek's permanent replacement on 6 January 2016.[98]

On 31 January 2018, after leaving Antalyaspor by mutual consent, Eto'o joined league rivals Konyaspor on a two-and-a-half-year contract.[99]

He signed for Qatar SC in August 2018.[100] In February 2019 he said he wished to continue playing for a further year.[101]

On 7 September 2019, Eto'o announced his retirement from football.[102]

International career

Eto'o playing for Cameroon in 2009. He is their all-time leading scorer with 56 goals.

Eto'o earned his first cap with Cameroon one day before his 16th birthday on 9 March 1997, in a 5–0 friendly loss to Costa Rica. In 1998, he was the youngest participant in the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he appeared in a 3–0 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 FIFA 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 1–0 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 12–11 penalty shootout loss to Ivory Coast following a 1–1 draw, but he nonetheless finished as the top scorer of the tournament with five goals. He missed a team practice before the quarter-finals 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 14th 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.[103] 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.[104] In the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Gabon, Eto'o scored a goal in the 68th minute. He followed it up with another goal in the home fixture. He led 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 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament. On 19 June 2010, Eto'o scored a goal in Cameroon's 2010 World Cup group stage match against Denmark, from a mistake by Christian Poulsen. Cameroon eventually lost the game 2–1 and was eliminated from the World Cup. Eto'o described it as the biggest disappointment of his career. In December 2010, Eto'o became the first man to be named African Player of the Year for a fourth time.[105]

On 16 December 2011, Eto'o was suspended 15 games by the Cameroonian Football Federation, after the team refused to play a friendly against Algeria earlier in the year.[106] The ban was reduced to eight months in January 2012, meaning Eto'o would only miss four competitive matches. The change was brought about after Cameroon President Paul Biya asked officials to reconsider the controversial sanction.[107]

On 27 August 2012, Eto'o was in the squad to face Cape Verde in the first leg of a qualification play-off for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but the striker refused to play, as a protest against what he described as the "amateurish and poorly organised" national team set-up.[108] After an intervention from Cameroon Prime Minister Philemon Yang, Eto'o agreed to return for the second leg.[109] However, Eto'o's return was not enough for Cameroon to overturn a 0–2 first leg deficit, and the Indomitable Lions failed to qualify for the Cup of Nations.

On 23 March 2013, Eto'o scored his first goal for Cameroon in 16 months with a penalty kick against Togo in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. He went on to score an 82nd minute winning goal in the same match, sending Cameroon to the top of their qualifying group. In November 2013, he captained the team in their 4–1 aggregate defeat of Tunisia in the play-off to secure World Cup qualification.[110] In June 2014, Eto'o was selected in Cameroon's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, becoming the third African to participate in four tournaments after compatriots Jacques Songo'o and Rigobert Song.[111] After joining Everton, on 27 August 2014, Eto'o announced his retirement from international competition.[112]

Style of play

In his prime Eto'o was extremely quick and possessed excellent dribbling ability with close ball control

Eto'o was a fast, strong, and energetic forward, who was known for his stamina, work-rate, ability in the air, and his accurate finishing ability both with his head and feet.[113][114][115][116] A powerful and prolific goalscorer with good technique, composure in front of goal, and an ability to play off other forwards,[114][117] Eto'o was primarily deployed as a central striker, although he was also a team player; indeed, during his time at Inter, under José Mourinho, he demonstrated notable tactical intelligence and versatility by playing in several other positions on the pitch.[113][118] During Inter's 2009–10 treble-winning season, Eto'o played an important role in the squad, and was utilised as a winger or even as an attacking midfielder on the left flank in Mourinho's 4–2–3–1 formation, where he was primarily required to help his team creatively and defensively with his link-up play and work-rate off the ball, which frequently saw him to track back.[114][119][120][121][122] During the return leg of the Champions League semi-final match against his former club Barcelona, Eto'o further demonstrated his work-rate and versatility by playing as a makeshift right-sided attacking full-back or wing-back following Thiago Motta's controversial sending-off.[118][121][122][123] Eto'o has also been renowned for his leadership, opportunism and mentality throughout his career.[123][124]

In his prime, Eto'o was regarded by pundits as one of the best strikers in the world;[125][121][118] he is currently regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time.[126] He is often ranked among the three greatest African strikers, alongside George Weah and Didier Drogba.[127][128] Despite losing some of his speed with age, he continued to maintain a consistent goalscoring rate as a striker, due to his ability to get into good positions and time his attacking runs, as shown by his goal in a 6–3 loss against Chelsea on 30 August 2014, during his time with Everton.[129] Beyond his speed and goalscoring, Eto'o was also known for his first touch, close control, and passing ability in his prime; even in his advancing age, he maintained his dribbling skills in his later career, which he used to his advantage to beat defenders and assist or create chances for teammates.[121][130] In his mid-thirties Eto'o incorporated an ‘old man’ routine in his goal celebration – a response to jibes by José Mourinho about being too old – where he bent over and started walking slowly with an imaginary cane, with the celebration featuring in EA Sports’ FIFA video game FIFA 18.[131]

President of Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT)

On 11 December 2021, Eto'o was elected President of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT).[1]

World Championship ambassador 2022

Eto'o was appointed Ambassador of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After the Brazil-South Korea match, he was filmed kneeing a man in the face after a confrontation. News reporters were unable to identify the man or reason behind the attack, which did not appear to cause any serious injury.[132]

Personal life

Eto'o is a native of Nkon, a suburb of Yaoundé. He has two brothers who are also footballers: David and Étienne. Eto'o has four children: Maelle, Étienne, Siena and Lynn. He married his longtime sweetheart Georgette on 6 July 2007. Georgette is the mother of Siena and Lynn, who both live with her in Paris.[133] On 17 October 2007, he earned his Spanish passport.[134]

On 9 November 2020, Eto'o was involved in a car accident, when his 4×4 had a head-on collision with a bus. It was said that Eto'o was unhurt from the accident. The driver of the bus tried to escape the scene before being apprehended and taken to a police station.[135]

Eto'o was crowned paramount chief in Kaffu Bullom, a chiefdom in Sierra Leone in November 2015. He was visiting Sierra Leone as part of the FIFA "11 for Health and 11 against Ebola" programme in the country.[136]

He is also a supporter of French club Paris Saint-Germain.[137]


Eto'o experienced racial abuse in some away matches during his career. He is one of several high-profile contemporary players to have reacted to the abuse by threatening to leave the pitch and being outspoken in criticism of their experiences.

In February 2005, during an away match with Real Zaragoza, Eto'o was the subject of racist taunts by Zaragoza supporters, who began making monkey-like chants whenever he had possession of the ball. Referee Fernando Carmona Méndez, however, made no mention of the incidents in his match report, commenting only that the behavior of the crowd was "normal"; two of the abusers were caught and given five-month sporting-event bans after being identified to police by other spectators.[138][139] Eto'o later declared that the punishment was insufficient and that La Romareda should have been closed for at least one year, but his manager Frank Rijkaard, of Surinamese origin, told him to concentrate on football and stop talking about the incident. Infuriated again by Zaragoza fans' racist chants the following season, however, Eto'o attempted to walk off the pitch in protest.[140] His teammates intervened and convinced him to continue playing.

After experiencing regular racist abuse from sections of support in Spanish crowds, Eto'o stopped bringing family members to matches. He stated, "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."[141]

On 17 October 2010, in a Serie A game against Cagliari, after just three minutes of play, the referee halted the match to give a warning to some Cagliari fans who were singing racist chants towards Eto'o. After play was resumed, the rest of the stadium chanted loudly in an attempt to drown out the racist chants in order to avoid the match being suspended. Inter went on to win 1–0 with an Eto'o goal in the 39th minute.[142]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[143][144][145]
Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Leganés (loan) 1997–98 Segunda División 28 3 2 1 0 0 30 4
Real Madrid 1998–99 La Liga 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1999–2000 La Liga 2 0 0 0 3 0 1[a] 0 6 0
Total 3 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 7 0
Espanyol (loan) 1998–99 La Liga 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Mallorca 1999–2000 (loan) La Liga 13 6 0 0 13 6
2000–01 La Liga 28 11 5 2 33 13
2001–02 La Liga 30 6 1 1 9 3 40 10
2002–03 La Liga 30 14 6 5 0 0 36 19
2003–04 La Liga 32 17 2 0 7 4 2[b] 1 43 22
Total 133 54 14 8 16 7 2 1 165 70
Barcelona 2004–05 La Liga 37 25 1 0 7 4 45 29
2005–06 La Liga 34 26 0 0 11 6 2[b] 2 47 34
2006–07 La Liga 19 11 2 1 3 1 3[c] 0 27 13
2007–08 La Liga 18 16 3 1 7 1 28 18
2008–09 La Liga 36 30 4 0 12 6 52 36
Total 144 108 10 2 40 18 5 2 199 130
Inter Milan 2009–10 Serie A 32 12 2 1 13 2 1[d] 1 48 16
2010–11 Serie A 35 21 4 5 10 8 4[e] 3 53 37
2011–12 Serie A 0 0 0 0 0 0 1[d] 0 1 0
Total 67 33 6 6 23 10 6 4 102 53
Anzhi Makhachkala 2011–12 Russian Premier League 22 13 1 0 0 0 23 13
2012–13 Russian Premier League 25 10 3 2 16 9 44 21
2013–14 Russian Premier League 6 2 0 0 0 0 6 2
Total 53 25 4 2 16 9 73 36
Chelsea 2013–14 Premier League 21 9 3 0 9 3 2[f] 0 35 12
Everton 2014–15 Premier League 14 3 1 0 4 1 1[f] 0 20 4
Sampdoria 2014–15 Serie A 18 2 18 2
Antalyaspor 2015–16 Süper Lig 31 20 1 0 32 20
2016–17 Süper Lig 30 18 0 0 30 18
2017–18 Süper Lig 15 6 0 0 15 6
Total 76 44 1 0 77 44
Konyaspor 2017–18 Süper Lig 13 6 1 0 18 6
Qatar SC 2018–19 Qatar Stars League 17 6 3 3 3[g] 1 23 10
Career total 587 293 46 22 111 48 20 8 764 371
  1. ^ Appearance in FIFA Club World Cup
  2. ^ a b Appearances in Supercopa de España
  3. ^ Two appearances in Supercopa de España, one appearance in UEFA Super Cup
  4. ^ a b Appearances in Supercoppa Italiana
  5. ^ One appearance and two goals in Supercoppa Italiana, one appearance in UEFA Super Cup, two appearances and one goal in FIFA Club World Cup
  6. ^ a b Appearances in League Cup
  7. ^ Appearance in League play-off and Emir of Qatar Cup


Appearances and goals by national team and year[11][146]
National team Year Apps Goals
Cameroon 1997 3 0
1998 5 0
1999 1 0
2000 9 5
2001 9 2
2002 13 5
2003 7 2
2004 9 4
2005 6 1
2006 5 5
2007 3 1
2008 11 11
2009 8 5
2010 12 8
2011 9 4
2012 2 0
2013 4 2
2014 3 1
Total 118 56

International goals

See List of international goals scored by Samuel Eto'o


Team From To Record
M W D L Win % Ref.
Antalyaspor 7 December 2015 6 January 2016 5 2 1 2 040.00 [98]
Total 5 2 1 2 040.00




Eto'o and Juliano Belletti celebrate winning the 2005–06 La Liga at Barcelona

Inter Milan[147]




See also


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External links