Chelsea Football Club today bids farewell to Samuel Eto’o whose contract is now at an end.
Eto’o spent one season at Stamford Bridge and true to his illustrious career as one of the great strikers in world football, provided some of the most memorable moments of 2013/14 with his goals, often important opening strikes including in big games against Arsenal and Tottenham, and against Manchester United when he became just the third Chelsea player to score a hat-track against the Old Trafford outfit.
He signed on a one-year deal from Anzhi Makhachkala last August, making his debut at Everton and scoring his first Chelsea goal in a 4-1 win over Cardiff City, taking an Eden Hazard pass in his stride, jinking past Steven Caulker and firing low past David Marshall. It was another important contribution, giving his team a 2-1 lead, and Eto’o’s formidable history in the Champions League continued with his first goals for us in that competition soon followed, a brace in a 3-0 win against Schalke, before he netted a winner against Liverpool just after Christmas.
Man United were the next visitors to Stamford Bridge and Eto’o rose to the occasion with that three-goal haul, the first for Chelsea in this fixture since Seamus O’Connell in 1954/55. It helped secure a 3-1 win during a strong period for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Eto’o was chosen to lead the line away at Manchester City for what is widely considered our best performance of the season, and he did so admirably, causing Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic all manner of problems with his intelligent movement.
When Tottenham Hotspur came to SW6 in March, there was little to choose between the sides until Eto’o pounced on a Jan Vertonghen mistake early in the second half and fired us into the lead. Minutes later he won a penalty, which was converted by Eden Hazard, to all but wrap up the game.
A fortnight later he opened the scoring inside five minutes in a 6-0 demolition of Arsenal. It was a goal which was perfectly executed, and one that earned the striker a Chelsea Goal of the Season nomination. His popularity with the crowd was cemented.
His last goal in a blue shirt came in our 2-1 home defeat by Sunderland, when he broke the deadlock early in the game, with the Champions League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid his final appearance for the club.
Eto’o leaves Stamford Bridge having made 26 starts for the Blues, as well as nine appearances as a substitute. He scored 12 goals during his time in west London.
Chelsea would like to thank Samuel for the service he gave and the best for the future.