Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o is one of the most recognisable footballers from the African continent. The striker made a name for himself during his years in Spain’s La Liga with Barcelona, before successful stints at Italian Serie A club Inter Milan and English Premier League side Chelsea.
He was also a top performer for his national team, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, captaining the team and contributing many goals over the years.
Here are 8 things you didn’t know about soccer star Samuel Eto’o.
This is an updated version of a slideshow that was originally published Aug. 11, 2014. Peter Pedroncelli contributed to this report.
In August 2014 the striker ended his international career with Cameroon as the 54-goal all-time leading scorer. The decision to leave the national team came after he was dropped from Volker Finke’s squad and lost the captaincy to Stephane Mbia. The former Barcelona, Inter, Chelsea and Real Madrid star played his first match for the Indomitable Lions in 1997 during a 5-0 defeat to Costa Rica.
The striker has been dogged by racism on various occasions throughout his career, with two of the major incidents taking place during his time in Spain with Barca. He received heavy abuse from opposing Real Zaragoza fans, who made monkey chants and shouted insults directed at the striker. For his work against racism in football, Eto’o received the ECTR Medal of Tolerance in 2015.
Due to the nearly a decade spent playing La Liga football in Spain, Eto’o now holds a Spanish passport. This fact means that he is not considered one of the “foreign players” working in the European Union, with certain leagues restricting the amount of non-European players representing a club team.
In 2015 Eto’o added to his businesses outside of football with a fashion brand that produces shirts, caps and sneakers in a premium line of clothing targeted at a global audience. The brand is named ‘Samuel Eto’o 9’, and the main focus of the fashion line is menswear. The clothes are designed and manufactured in Turkey, with Cameroonian designer Gabriel Pascal Nyemeg Nlend involved in the project.
When Eto’o began to receive payment for playing football, he earned more than $200 a week. His family was incredulous. In an interview, he recalled how his father asked, “Can you really get so much from playing football?” That was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the money that Eto’o would later command for his football skills.
Eto’o is a highly-decorated soccer player, having won the African Player of the Year award four times – in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. He was also the third-place runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2005. Many people claim he was denied the first-place spot due to the fact that he was African. He was a member of the gold medal-winning 2000 Cameroonian Olympic team, and is a two-time champion of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Eto’o has been quite altruistic with his cash, but he also enjoys collecting expensive cars. His $6.7 million fleet of cars includes a $2.6 million Bugatti Veyron (above), a $2.1 million Aston Martin One-77, and a Maybach Xenatec for $1.2 million.
The Samuel Eto’o Private Foundation (Fundación Privada Samuel Eto’o) has a number of different projects. One enables young players to attend top-notch football academies. Among others, Eto’o has built football schools in Gabon, as well as in Nairobi, Kenya, as a way to give back. “I want to give back to Africa what Africa gives to me — my chance to play football…” he said.
#1 Macroeconomic Newsletter For Black America