Thomas Nkono, Antoine Bell, Idriss Carlos Kameni, many Cameroonian doormen have stood out over the ages, but what about Samuel Eto’o?
Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o has spent several years at the top level and has established himself as one of the best strikers in the world, especially during his time with FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. If he especially shone as number 9, Samuel ETo’o once helped out very well as a goalkeeper.
2000 – 2004, magical beginnings for Samuel Eto’o in Spain
We are in 2000 when Samuel Eto’o signs, on loan, at RCD Mallorca. The beginning of a great story for the Cameroonian. In thirteen games played in the first division during his loan, Samuel Eto’o delivered four assists and scored six goals. Majorca buys 50% of the rights from Samuel Eto’o for 7.2 million euros. Real Madrid keeps the other half of the rights of the Cameroonian player in order to buy it back at half price or recover a large part of a possible transfer from Eto’o to another club.
In its first full season with Mallorca, the club finished third in the championship behind Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruña, and qualified for the Champions League. Samuel Eto’o contributed to this third place by scoring 11 La Liga goals.
Great years for Samuel Eto’o at RCD Majorca
Eto’o scored his first goal in the Champions League in the return match of the third qualifying round against Hajduk Split. 1-0 away defeat, his goal allows his team to win 2-0 after extra time.
The 2001-2002 season is more difficult for Mallorca, both at national and European level. Majorca finishes third in its group in C1. Eto’o allowed his team to win on the field of Schalke 04 (0-1). The team was drafted in the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup, but lost to FC Slovan Liberec (1-3, 1-2), despite a return Eto’o goal11. In mid-season, Eto’o is absent to compete and win the African Cup of Nations. In the league, the club finished 16th just three points behind the first relegation. Eto’o is less prolific and only scores six goals in thirty days.
The 2002-2003 season was marked by two games against the former Eto’o club, Real Madrid. Mallorca wins 5-1 against the capital’s club in the league with a goal and two assists from Eto’o. In the King’s Cup, Majorca obtained another large victory (4-0) in the quarterfinal return with a double Eto’o in five minutes.
His good performances enabled him to be elected African Player of the Year in 2003 for the first time in his career. RCD Mallorca finishes in the middle of the championship table, in ninth position. Leaving to compete in the Confederations Cup with his selection, the scorer receives authorization to return to Spain, in full competition, to compete in the King’s Cup final, won against Recreativo Huelva thanks to a double Eto’o ( 3-0).
Samuel Eto’o, the unbeatable goalkeeper
This is, therefore, a very good pass for Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroonian striker considerably helps his team but the most striking fact undoubtedly remains his sacrifice by playing goalkeeper. An anecdote that many did not know but the former captain of the Indomitable Lions kept the goals once.
The former FC Barcelona striker had made a successful pass. It was in 2003 when he was still playing with Mallorca, in a match against Athletic Bilbao. Eto’o had replaced Leo Franco, expelled while his team had exhausted his changes and managed to keep the hut by keeping his cage clean.
In the summer of 2004, after four years in Mallorca, Eto’o left the club as the top scorer in its history in La Liga with 54 goals and in the Champions League with 2 goals. A very beautiful feat.