Boasting a phenomenal medal collection and having overcome a host of obstacles on his rise to the very top of the professional game, an abundance of talent, goals and commitment have ensured Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o is firmly among the world’s most coveted marksmen.
Winner of the African Footballer of the Year award on a record four occasions, the fame of the former Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona and Inter Milan goalgetter has also spread thanks to his frequent displays of strong character, both on and off the pitch.
Now 30 years of age and vastly experienced at club and international level, Eto’o remains as single-minded and driven as the youngster who travelled to Madrid some 15 years ago to make his name in Europe. Never shy at giving his views on issues covering the length and breadth of the game, FIFA.com brings you some of the most striking quotes from the current Anzhi Makhachkala forward.
“Getting knocked about just motivates me more. When someone kicks me, you wouldn’t believe how much it makes me want to score a goal, just to get them back.”
Defenders be warned, kicking Eto’o may come back to haunt you.
“I guarantee you that if I was a Brazilian called Eto’osinho, I’d get much more press.”
Eto’o on how a change of image might boost his profile.
“He’s better-looking than me, but I’m a better player.”
The Cameroon international compares himself with Englishman David Beckham.
“Nutmegs and flicks are fine, but goals are what really matter.”
Eto’o on the essence of the beautiful game.
“I feed off other people’s mistakes.”
On the secret to his remarkable attacking prowess, speaking after helping Barcelona win the 2009 Copa del Rey.
“Of course I’ve been called a negro, even by some opposing players, and I’ve had monkey chants directed at me in a few stadiums, but I try to play it down."
On his personal experience of racism in the game.
“I don’t like those players who kiss the badge after scoring a goal, because they wouldn’t think twice about moving clubs the very next day if they were offered more money. Mallorca are the team I love and I currently play for Barça. That’s it.”
Revealing where his footballing affections lie, when speaking a few years ago.
“For a time he was the right coach for Barça, but there came a point where perhaps we needed a coach who would be tougher and, because of how fond Frank was of us, he wasn’t able to come down hard on us. I think that we abused his trust too much.”
Giving his insider verdict on the end of Frank Rijkaard’s tenure as Barcelona coach.
“Madrid-Barça games are unique. I used to tell my Inter team-mates that I’d been fortunate enough to play in a lot of derby games, including in Italy, but that the Spanish clásico was the best in the world. You’d have sleepless nights once it got to the week of the game."
Eto'o on the atmosphere surrounding El Clásico.
“You don’t play football with words.”
Playing down the importance of players’ statements.
“I think that you aren’t Cameroonian and that you weren’t watching the same game as us. I’ll speak to your boss because you don't deserve to work for that channel. We work really hard to earn recognition far and wide and certain journalists like you don’t want Africa to progress, you don’t want Cameroon to progress. You are always negative, try to change a little.”
A very angry Eto'o lashes out in a press conference, following a CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying defeat against Senegal.
“I wouldn’t go to [Real] Madrid whatever they offered me, because I wouldn’t be happy there.”
Money clearly isn’t everything to the attacker.
“Why do we all work? What do you work for? Whoever says he doesn’t work for money is a hypocrite.”
After his signing for Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, who have made him one of the best-paid players on the planet.