Samuel Eto’o established himself as one of the most feared forwards in European football during a stellar career at the highest level, a prolific goalscorer widely recognised as one of African football’s all-time greats.
The Cameroonian scored prolifically throughout his career and won the Champions League on three occasions, becoming the first player in history to win back-to-back trebles with different clubs.
Whilst the former Barcelona and Inter Milan star often stole the headlines on the pitch, he also claimed plenty off it and was never afraid to speak his mind, a personality trait which has seen the forward compile a long list of colourful quotes.
Here are 10 of the most memorable quotes from four time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o:
“Tell Thierry Henry to sign for Barcelona. The bench is waiting for him if he wants to play centre-forward.” – Eto’o’s unshakeable self-confidence evident amid Barcelona’s reported interest in Arsenal’s Thierry Henry in 2005, though the duo managed just fine after becoming teammates two years later.
“Madrid, you bas**rds, salute the champions.” – The outspoken Eto’o once again failing to mince his words when taking aim at former side Real Madrid.
“I, first of all, reminded Guardiola that he’d never been a great player and, as a coach, he had proven nothing. He came in and didn’t even know the story of the dressing room. [He] never had the courage to say things in front of me. Xavi told me they wanted me to stay, but I had to talk to Pep. I say ‘never, if you do not respect me, I do not respect you’.” – The forward’s view on Pep Guardiola after being used as a makeweight in the deal that took Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan to Barcelona.
“Since that day, I decided I will stand up and fight against abuse, stand up and shout. Only we can make it stop. Nobody is going to do it for us.” – Eto’o, to his credit, has been vocal in tackling the long standing issue of racism in football, giving this defiant statement after receiving sickening racial abuse in a clash against Real Zaragoza in 2006.
“I belong to Africa. I might live in Europe, but I sleep in Africa.” – A proud African, Eto’o revealed his delight following the announcement of the first World Cup to be held on the continent in 2010.
“It’s not a question of money because when you look at my career, I’ve won everything except for the World Cup. I only have one thing in mind — winning.” – The Cameroonian’s winning mentality took him to European giants Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011, a Russian side without a major trophy in their entire history. The move, of course, was absolutely nothing to do with becoming the highest-paid player in world football. If you say so, Samuel.
“I don’t eat with my teammates because I am scared to be poisoned. Our leaders are incompetent and corrupted. They are old people who have wasted our money instead of helping football.” – In signature style, Eto’o refused to hold back when addressing the men in charge of Cameroonian football.
“Tottenham – and I hope the English fans will forgive me – are a club in mid-table and I need more.” – Eto’o, not for the first time, sent jibes in the direction of English football with this dismissal of Tottenham’s interest in his services in 2008. The north London side may not be best pleased with the forward’s comments, though this is quite polite by his standards.
“I would prefer to sell peanuts in my native village than to play in a club as pathetic as Chelsea” – We’re presuming there was no openings for peanut sellers at the time of Eto’o’s transfer to Chelsea eight years after this outburst.
“I have nothing to prove, I am Samuel Eto’o” – It takes a special kind of person to refer to themselves in the third person.