Samuel Eto’o has explained why he is the best African player in history despite several good stars come from the continent.
The 38-year-old Cameroon legend recently put an end to an illustrious career on 7 September 2019, after winning 18 major trophies, including three Champions Leagues and two Africa Cup of Nations titles as well as an Olympic gold medal.
Eto’o played in La Liga, Serie A and Premier League among several topflight and he was named the African Player of the Year four times but failed to win the Ballon d’Or, with his best placing being in the 2005 edition where he finished third.
Former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker has maintained that he is the greatest African player in history because he has ever achieved more than any person from the continent ever ahead of the likes of Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu, Cameroon hero Roger Milla, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba and Liberia’s George Weah, who remains the only African player to win the highly coveted World Player of the Year award, claiming the prize in 1995.
Eto’o told AFP: “I don’t need to lay claim to anything, it’s just a fact. Whether you accept it or not, it’s a fact,”
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You know, as an African, you are always being judged. What is unacceptable is that the first people to do it are always Africans. They can’t take anything away from me because I am proud to be African.
“When I look at where I came from and how far I got, I tell myself that I am entitled to be proud. That doesn’t mean I am big-headed, far from it. It is just that, in this world, people like puppets and I don’t accept being one.”
Samuel Eto’o has decided on his next challenge, with his heart set on a stint in management, revealing an expressed desire to be successful in coaching as he did during his playing days. As a coach, the Cameroonian is hoping to draw inspiration from the coaching style of his former manager at Barcelona and current Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
“There comes a point where you have to look for other challenges. That is what I have chosen to do. I have had a wonderful career,” he continued.
“I know my next challenge will be to win at least as much as a coach as I did as a player. I would like to coach in Europe, and then one day return to Africa and win there. I don’t know how to lose.
“I am lucky to have made history at different clubs. I have a lot more doors open to me than others, but you need to be prepared.
“I want to learn [and] have all the qualifications, understand how things work either in my own businesses or in my future career, in order to come back in 12 or 24 months and start a new career, which I hope will be just as beautiful.”
“I am a fan of Guardiola. I love football and I think it’s important to win in style,” he added.
“Football is like going to the theatre: it is great to go to the stadium and see a spectacle. When you watch Guardiola’s teams play, you never get bored.”
Eto’o started his career with Kadji Sports Academy before going to Europe to feature Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyaspor, Konyaspor and Qatar SC during his playing days.