Eto'o boasts lightning speed
Cameroonian is one of the top strikers in the world
Born: March 10, 1981 in Nkon, Cameroon
Clubs played for: As a 16-year-old, Eto'o signed with Real Madrid, who loaned him out to fellow Spanish side Leganes. From there he went on loan to Espanyol (1998-1999) but saw little action and eventually returned to Real Madrid. During the 1999-00 season, he went on loan to Mallorca, and eventually spent four seasons there, establishing himself as one of the top strikers in Spain's top division. A transfer move to Barcelona followed in 2004 and it was with the Catalan club that his career really took off, helping the club win a pair of Champions League crowns and three Spanish championships. He finished as the Spanish league's top scorer during the 2005-06 seasons with an amazing tally of 26 goals. After helping Barcelona record a historic treble (Spanish championship, UEFA Champions League crown and Copa del Rey) in 2009, he was sent to Italian club Inter Milan in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and $72 million Cdn.
International career: Eto'o won his first cap for Cameroon on the day before his 16th birthday in a friendly against Costa Rica in 1997. As a 17-year-old, he played for his country at the 1998 World Cup but shot to fame when he helped Cameroon win the 2000 and 2002 African Cup of Nations, as well as the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics. He has scored over 40 goals for Cameroon and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Cup of Nations with 16 goals. Eto'o has been voted African player of the year three times (2003 to 2005).
Why is he so special? Samuel's devastating combination of speed and acceleration, and finishing prowess in front of goal has solidified his reputation as one of the top strikers in the world.
His most famous moment: Scoring the winning goal against Manchester United in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final.
He said it: "Cameroon's nickname [the Indomitable Lions] has plenty of significance for us. The lion is the symbol of someone who commands territory, earns respect and is feared. We will do our best to be considered the kings of Africa."
What they're saying about him: "History shows that this club has had very few strikers like him. I do not know if there has ever been anyone like him before. What I do know is that Barcelona should erect a statue for him." - Andres Iniesta, former FC Barcelona teammate
Here's an interesting fact: During his time in Spain, Eto'o often experienced racial abuse from opposing fans during the course of a game. It got so bad one time that he threatened to walk off the field in protest after Real Zaragoza fans made monkey chants every time he touched the ball.