Following in the footsteps of Didier Drogba, who recently retired from the international scene, another African football icon announced on 27 August that he would be taking his leave from the global stage.
Clinical striker Samuel Eto'o has decided to bring the curtain down on a highly successful 14-year career with Cameroon, one that was punctuated by trophies, records and an avalanche of goals.
FIFA.com looks back at the legendary No9’s achievements in nine numbers.
thousand, the approximate number of followers who received the news of the Cameroonian’s retirement first-hand via Twitter. It is not the first time that Eto’o has made such a statement, having previously hung up his international boots in 2012 following disagreements with his national football federation, and in September 2013, a choice he reversed just a month later. However, it does appear that this time the decision is final.
The total number of caps earned by Eto’o in an international career that began in March 1997 against Costa Rica and ended in June 2014 against Mexico. He is the third most capped Cameroonian player in history after Rigobert Song (138) and Geremi (118).
The impressive number of goals the iconic forward has scored for Les Lions Indomptables in 117 appearances, a national record. Eighteen of those 56 were notched in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, making him the continental competition’s all-time top scorer. He scored his first goal on 28 January 2000 in a Cup of Nations match with Côte d’Ivoire, while his last came in a friendly with future world champions Germany on 1 June 2014.
The powerful front man’s age when he made his debut for his country on 9 March 1997 under the tutelage of Claude Le Roy. The landmark match took place one day before his 16th birthday. The following year, the precocious youngster was, at 17 years and three months, the youngest player to be included in a national squad at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™.
In 2012, Eto'o was handed a 15-match ban by the Cameroonian Football Federation for his role in a players’ strike that led to the cancellation of a friendly versus Algeria. The suspension was reduced to three games a few weeks later.
Although he is set to wear the No5 shirt with new club Everton, and donned the 29 with Chelsea and the 99 with Anzhi Makhachkala, Eto’o pulled on the No9 jersey for almost the entirety of his international career.
The number of World Cups (1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014) at which the lively attacker has competed, a joint African record shared with his illustrious compatriots, Jacques Songo’o and Rigobert Song. He scored three goals in eight matches on football’s greatest stage.
Eto’o remains the only player to have won the African Footballer of the Year award four times (in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010).
The number of major trophies lifted by Eto’o in a Cameroon jersey. He triumphed at the 2000 and 2002 Cup of Nations, as well as at the 2000 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney. In addition, he was part of the side that reached the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
I inform you that I am ending my international career... Thank you to all Africa, and to all my fans for your unconditional support.SEF
— Samuel Eto'o (@setoo9) August 27, 2014