Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Samuel Eto’o from Anzhi Makhachkala.
The 32-year-old has signed a one-year contract and on finalising the transfer he said: ‘I am very happy to be here but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible.
‘It wasn’t a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have, and I was very happy with Jose Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it.’
A prolific striker who has scored goals at the highest level throughout his career, Eto’o learned his trade in his native Cameroon before joining the Real Madrid youth academy in 1997. He then embarked on loan spells with Leganes, Espanyol and Real Mallorca.
His time at Mallorca proved a pivotal period in his early career, as a string of impressive displays earned Eto’o a permanent move to the club in 2000. The highlight there came when he scored twice to help his side to a 3-0 win over Recreativo in the 2003 Copa del Rey final.
Having caught the eye with his predatory instincts in front of goal as well as helping Mallorca secure qualification to the Champions League for the first time in their history, some of Europe’s biggest clubs unsurprisingly began to show an interest in acquiring his services, and after becoming Mallorca’s all-time leading league goalscorer, he completed a move to Barcelona in 2004.
Eto’o made his debut away at Racing Santander on the opening day of the 2004/05 season and scored the second goal in a 2-0 win, before netting four times in the space of two matches shortly after.
His impact was so significant that by the end of October he had already scored eight league goals, a run of form which would continue throughout the campaign as Frank Rijkaard’s side clinched the La Liga title.
During that season he also scored the winner for Barcelona as Chelsea were beaten 2-1 in the Camp Nou in the Champions League, although it was the Blues who would progress courtesy of a 4-2 second-leg victory at Stamford Bridge.
Eto’o went from strength to strength during the following season, once again playing a pivotal role as Barcelona retained the domestic title. He also finished the campaign as top scorer in La Liga with 26 goals, narrowly edging out David Villa.Even better was to come in the Champions League, as Barcelona overcame Arsenal 2-1 in Paris to lift the trophy. In what was an eventful final for Eto’o, he was brought down early in the game by Gunners’ goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who was subsequently shown a red card. With his side trailing 1-0, Eto’o then scored the equaliser 14 minutes from time before an extra-time winner by future Blue Juliano Belletti secured the trophy for the Spanish side.
After a brilliant season, Eto’o came third in the FIFA World Player of the Year award voting, with club team-mate Ronaldinho winning the prize and Frank Lampard finishing as runner-up.
His goals-to-games ratio remained impressive for the next two seasons at Barcelona, and he ended his time at the club in spectacular fashion, scoring the opening goal as Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in Rome to win another Champions League, completing the treble in the process. His five-year spell at the Camp Nou had yielded a remarkable 152 goals in 232 appearances.
In the summer of 2009, Eto’o swapped Spain for Italy, making the switch from Barcelona to Inter Milan in a deal which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic move in the opposite direction.
Under the guidance of Mourinho, who was Inter manager at the time, Eto’o enjoyed a fruitful first season at the San Siro, scoring on his Serie A debut from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw against Bari and going on to enjoy a productive time in front of goal.
He was also on target with the only goal of the game when Inter won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the knockout stages of the Champions League, sealing a 3-1 aggregate victory for the Italian side on their way to lifting the trophy courtesy of a 2-0 win against Bayern Munich in the final.
Eto’o completed the full 90 minutes in the showpiece fixture and picked up a winners’ medal in the competition for the third time in his career, while also achieving the unique feat of winning the treble in successive seasons with different teams, after Inter had won both the domestic title and Italian Cup.
His second and final season at Inter saw Eto’o flourish. He scored a memorable Champions League hat-trick against Werder Bremen and signed off with a brace as they beat Palermo 3-1 in the Italian Cup final.
Eto’o ended his two-year spell at Inter having scored 53 goals in 102 appearances.
In August 2011, it was announced that Eto’o had signed for Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, and the striker began in style, much like at his two previous clubs, by scoring on his debut in a game against FC Rostov.
As has been the case throughout his career, Eto’o, who was handed the Anzhi captaincy, scored regularly during his time in Russia, with his last goal for the club coming in a 1-1 draw against Kryliya Sovetov in July.
On the international stage, Eto’o has been a regular in the Cameroon side for many years after making his international debut the day before he turned 15. At only 17 years old he was part of the national squad which travelled to France for the 1998 World Cup, where he was the youngest player in the tournament.
Four years later he scored the winning goal as Cameroon secured their only victory of the 2002 World Cup by beating Saudi Arabia.
Eto’o is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Africa Cup of Nations, and as well as tasting success at both the 2000 and 2002 tournaments, he was part of the Cameroon team which won gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
He also captained Cameroon at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and scored in matches against Denmark and the Netherlands, although his goals were unable to prevent them from suffering elimination at the group stage.
His most recent goals for the national side came in Cameroon’s World Cup qualifying win over Togo back in March, when he netted a brace in a 2-1 win.
He is a four-time winner of the African Player of the Year Award.