Friday, December 7, 2007

Samuel Eto'o Fils

Samuel Eto'o Fils (born March 10, 1981 in Nkon, Cameroon) is a footballer, who currently plays for FC Barcelona. He is a distinguished forward who is known for his outstanding positional awareness and shooting technique. His talents have made him a leading scorer for both club and country and one of the world's top strikers. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2003, 2004, and 2005, making him the first player to win the award three years in succession since it has been handed out by the Confederation of African Football. He was recently named as one of the strikers for the FIFPro World XI team for the second consecutive year.

Club Career

During his time with RCD Mallorca, he became the highest ever league goal scorer in the history of the club, with 54 goals. He signed for FC Barcelona in the summer of 2004 for a transfer fee of 24 million after a long series of three-way negotiations with Mallorca and Real Madrid. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez said that Eto'o was not needed as they already had Ronaldo and Raúl signed as strikers. Eto'o made his debut for Barcelona in the first game of the season at Ràcing Santander, on August 29, 2004.
2005-06 Pichichi

After missing out on last year's "Pichichi" Eto'o made amends for it when on May 20, 2006, Samuel Eto'o assured himself the title of "pichichi" (top scorer of La Liga) after scoring a goal against Athletic de Bilbao in FC Barcelona's last game of the 2005-06 season. Had he not scored in this game, he would still have been La Liga's top scorer for the season but would have had to share the title with Valencia CF's prolific striker, David Villa. He is now considered as one of the best strikers in the world.

During Barcelona's Champions League match against Werder Bremen on September 27, 2006, he ruptured the meniscus in his right knee. Ricard Pruna, Barcelona's doctor, originally estimated that the injury would keep him out of action for two to three months.[1] However, after an operation to treat the damaged meniscus, Barcelona doctors upped the estimated recovery time to five months.[2].

Eto’o’s 5 months absence is major blow for FC Barcelona as he is one of their most influential players. Though he will miss more than 20 matches, Joan Laporta still believes he can retain his title of "Pichichi". Eto’o himself says that he will be playing again before the five month period. Less than one month after his operation, Eto'o has been spotted in ValenciaGP, during the MotoGP, walking with crutches. Eto'o is surprising everyone with his fast progress, even after being asked not to watch Barca playing on TV.

International career

Eto'o made his Cameroon debut at the age of just 15 in a friendly match against Costa Rica in a 5-0 loss, and at the age of 17, Eto'o was the youngest player at the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he appeared for Cameroon against Italy, at the age of 17 years and 3 months, being the only player who had been born in the '80s.

He has also played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Eto'o won three major tournaments with his country: the 2000 and 2002 African Nations Cups, as well as the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

In 2006, Eto'o missed his penalty shot in the quarter-final of the 2006 African Cup of Nations game against Côte d'Ivoire, ending a record 24-shot penalty session in which every penalty was scored and eliminating his side. On the other hand he was the top scorer of the tournament, with five goals.

Skills and playing style

Samuel Eto'o was described in 2006 by football pundit Tommy Smyth as one of the best pure strikers in the world. He is known for his quick pace and agility on the ball and an ability to score equally well with both feet as well as his head. His style of play is characteristically daring and he often runs at defenders and goalkeepers with total confidence in his ability to get the ball past them. Because of his slight frame, Eto'o relies on nimbleness and timing rather than strength to score, and he frequently scores on the first touch after running onto well-placed through balls. He has also been known to use a move in which he passes the ball to himself high over the opposing goalkeeper before running around him, settling the pass, and scoring.

Under Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona, Eto'o has played as the central striker as well as on either wing in an attempt to stymie teams who man-mark the Barca front three. Eto'o has adapted very well to the wing positions and has created numerous goals for his team mates while simultaneously scoring a lot of goals himself. In 2005/06 season he became the first player since the 1990 season to score 50 goals over 2 seasons in La Liga.

Eto'o does not shirk from his defensive responsibilities and has won many admirers for his fantastic work-rate. And the trust Rijkaard placed in his striker's defensive capabilities was evident when he shifted Eto'o to the left flank in the Champions League semi-final against Milan to counter the attacking threat of Cafu.


It was sometimes alleged that Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez released Eto'o, not only because Ronaldo and Raúl were already signed as strikers, but also because Pérez believed that Eto'o was not marketable.

Eto'o has experienced racial abuse in some matches outside Barcelona's stadium, the Camp Nou. In some rival stadiums it is perhaps due to the intensity of the rivalry as well as the scoring threat of Eto'o. Many black players have been subject to racist taunts; while some merely ignore these insults, others like Eto'o and the Ivorian defender Marc Zoro of Messina have reacted by being outspoken in their criticism and threatening to leave the pitch.

An incident occurred in February of 2006 when Eto'o suffered from racially-driven verbal abuse by some Real Zaragoza spectators during a match against FC Barcelona. The fans began making monkey-like chants whenever Eto'o had possession of the ball and peanuts were hurled onto the pitch. Eto'o threatened to leave the pitch in the middle of the game, but was prevented by the intervention of his team-mates and the referee, who rushed to the pitch to calm him down. His teammate Ronaldinho, who has suffered similar abuses but less intensely, said he was fed up with the sounds and that if Eto'o had left the pitch, he would have done the same. As Barcelona won 4-1, Eto'o danced like a monkey, saying rival fans were treating him as a monkey.[1]

Referee Fernando Carmona Mendez did not mention the incidents in his match report, commenting only that the behaviour of the crowd was "normal". [2]. The fans were identified to police by fellow spectators and they were fined and banned from attending sporting events for five months[3] Eto'o declared in the aftermath that the punishment was insufficient and that La Romareda, Real Zaragoza's stadium, should have been closed for at least one year. However, Eto'o's coach, Frank Rijkaard, told him to concentrate on football and to stop talking about the incident.

The incident was one of the latest controversies alleging the racist attitudes of Spanish football fans, and opened a general discussion on racism in football. The Football Association voiced its outrage at the incident, reeling from the England's similar predicament during a friendly match against the Spain at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which were sparked by earlier comments made by Luis Aragonés regarding Thierry Henry. There was criticism not only for racial taunts from the home crowd, but also for the reaction of Spanish officials; politicians were slow in condemning the incident while the RFEF declined to sanction Luis Aragonés for his remarks.

In Spain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Mexico and Italy, black players have been the object of racial abuse from the opposing team fans. This has had the merit of bringing the racial issue to the forefront and prompting FIFA president Sepp Blatter to threaten to impose more stringent sanctions for such attitudes

Personal information
Full name Samuel Eto'o Fils
Date of birth March 10, 1981
Place of birth Nkon, Cameroon
Height 1.79m, (5'11")
Nickname Pantera negra (Black panther)
Position Striker
Club information
Current club FC Barcelona

* Professional club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15 September 2006.