LEGENDS - CAMEROON - Samuel Eto'o - Africa Cup of Nations all time leading scorer
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Samuel Eto'o Fils
Date of birth:
10 March 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth:
1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Kadji Sports Academy: 1992-1997
Real Madrid: 1997-2000
3x apps / 0x goals
→ Leganés (loan): 1997-1998
30x apps / 4x goals
→ Espanyol (loan): 1999
0x apps / 0x goals
→ Mallorca (loan): 2000
19x apps / 6x goals
120x / 48x goals
145x / 108x goals
67x apps / 33x goals
Anzhi Makhachkala: 2011-2013
53x / 25x goals
21x apps / 9x goals
116x / 55x goals
* Senior club appearances and goals correct as of 19 April 2014.
Samuel Eto'o Fils, (born 10 March 1981) is a Cameroonian footballer who plays as a striker. Eto'o trained at Kadji Sports Academy. He also holds a Spanish passport, enabling him not to count among the "foreign players" working in the European Union.
Eto'o scored over 100 goals in five seasons with Barcelona, and is also the record holder in number of appearances by an African player in La Liga.
In 2010, he became the first player to win two European continental trebles following his back-to-back achievements with Barcelona and Inter.
He is the second player to have ever scored in two separate UEFA Champions League finals and the fourth player, after Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa, and Gerard Piqué, to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams.
He is the most decorated African player of all time having won the African Player of the Year award a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. He was third in the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2005.
As a member of the Cameroon national team, Eto'o was a part of the squad that won the 2000 Olympic tournament.
He has also participated in three World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations (being champion twice) and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, with 18 goals. He is also Cameroon's all-time leading scorer and third most capped player, with 55 goals from 112 caps.
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 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-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. 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 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 1 December 2009, Eto'o finished fifth in voting for the Ballon d'Or, which was won by his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.
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.
On 16 December 2011, Eto'o was suspended for fifteen games by the Fédération Camerounaise de Football, after the team refused to play a friendly against Algeria earlier this year.
The ban was reduced to eight months in January 2012, meaning Eto'o will only miss four competitive matches. The change was brought about after Cameroon president Paul Biya asked officials to reconsider the controversial sanction.
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.
After an intervention from the country's Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, Eto'o agreed to return for the second leg. 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.