Samuel Eto'o: What happened to the Barcelona and Cameroon legend?

Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o has always been a footballer and a man to defy belief.

A precocious talent, the striker has traditionally been a step ahead of the rest. At the age of 16, he signed for Real Madrid and would later go onto have a wonderfully decorated career.

He won multiple Champions League titles, scored an extreme amount of goals and in the process, became one of the most successful African footballers we have ever seen. 

Eto'o is not a normal talent and his latest move at the age of 39 sums him up. 

The Barcelona legend has been retired since 2019 but is now on the verge of sealing his return to football. He has never done things by the book.

Given his age, Eto'o should be putting his feet up and enjoying what life's riches have handed him.

Instead, a return to Spain is on the cards where he is currently in talks with playing for Racing de Murcia in the third tier. 

Club president Morris Pagniello told Marca this week: “At this time of the morning I would say that the signing of Samuel Eto'o by our team is at 50-50."

Samuel Eto'o

But how on earth are a small club in the south-east of Spain affording such a deal for someone who became the world's highest-paid player in 2011? Well, through investment from Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. 

Just how Eto'o will perform on his return is unknown, but it would be fitting for him to make his comeback in a country where he made his career. 

At Madrid, he failed to really get going, playing only seven times, but a move to Mallorca transpired and he never looked back.

He became the definition of a poacher, a fox in the box who ended up scoring 67 goals in just 155 games for the largest piece of land in the Balearic Islands. 

What happened next? His famed move to Barcelona.

Samuel Eto'o at Mallorca

Eto'o became a genuine household name but he was so much more than scoring goals. He could beat an opponent with frightening pace but he was also useful in the air, using his powerful frame to knock players aside. 

Next to the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry, it was difficult not to thrive and that's exactly what the former Cameroon international managed.

He scored 130 in 189 matches for Barca, winning three La Liga's from 2004 to 2009 and two Champions League trophies. 

In the process, the forward became a four-time African Player of the Year and was named in FIFA's Team of the Year on two consecutive occasions. If his individual trophy haul wasn't big enough already, Eto'o came third in the race to win the 2005 FIFA Player of the Year. 

Eto'o signs for Barcelona

It's easy to forget just how good Eto'o was as he later went onto prove himself in Serie A and the Premier League too.

A move to Inter saw him become just the fourth player in history to win the Champions League two years in a row with different teams. 

The striker found the back of the net 53 times in 102 outings for the Italian giants, sometimes being deployed on the wing by Jose Mourinho as well.

After a mere money-making move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, he tried his hand in England with Chelsea and Everton.

Eto'o scored 12 Premier League goals as he ran down the later years of his career. Mourinho had the pleasure of managing him for a second time at Stamford Bridge but the pair came close to falling out.

The Portuguese claimed that Eto'o was actually 35 when instead he was 32. The forward branded him a fool and celebrated by walking like an old man with a stick. 

Samuel Eto'o

It was a classic moment and summed up the Camerroonian's vibrant and quirky personality. 

Eto'o scored just twice in Serie A with Sampdoria but would prove himself to still be an effective goalscorer in Turkey, racking up 44 in 77 for Antalyaspor.

The legendary attacker was even Antalyaspor's player-manager before he joined Konyaspor and then Qatar SC, eventually hanging up his boots just over a year ago.

A man who earned 118 caps for his country, he has rarely been seen in the public eye since retiring but now he's on the verge of returning to Spain.

Eto'o old man

Racing Murcia are currently third in the Tercera Division so yet another trophy could soon be added to his glistening collection.

At the age of 39, this would surely be one of his proudest and most special moments. 

Eto'o is simply the man who keeps on giving.  

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