Everton, the unlikely home of one of the most gifted forwards of a generation, Samuel Eto’o.
To be fair, Samuel Eto’o had taken a bit of a dive by the time he linked up with Roberto Martinez’s Everton side. It had been five years since he left behind the dazzling lights of the Nou Camp, where he played with the likes of Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, and three seasons since waving goodbye to the Inter Milan, the San Siro and a Champions League victory.
Nothing could quell Roberto Martinez excitement though whose mind was evidently stuck in the previous decade. The former Cameroon international joined from Chelsea on a free to link up with another ex-Blues player Romelu Lukaku.
“I met him, and we had a very good chat. I was impressed about the hunger he still has,” Martinez said (via BBC Sport). “We are very excited, and I think Everton is the perfect home for him.”
Eto’o, who had developed into a bit of a journeyman by this point, passed some generic comments on arrival, using templates we imagine he created at oil-rich Anzhi Makhachkala years before.
“I have been very impressed by the style of play Everton adopt,” he said. “I could see straight away that at this club I will have the opportunity to play football.
“I had the chance to speak with the manager over the last few days and we agreed that this was what we would do.
“I was impressed with his enthusiasm but also by the knowledge of football that Roberto Martinez carries, his vision of football and how he reads football. I still think I can learn a great deal from him here.”
Eto’o played just 14 times for Everton in the six months he spent at the club scoring a nominal three goals, which is a horrible return on the kind of money likely spent on his contract.
Lacking pace, drive and motivation, Eto’o had clearly passed his best by the point he stumbled onto Goodison Park’s turf.
It was commonplace for reports to emerge over rumoured spats between Martinez and the three-time Champions League winner, one time apparently refusing to warmup after being benched against Queens Park Rangers screeching “I am Eto’o. I am Eto’o” like a big, self-absorbed, petulant child (as per Liverpool Echo).
A string of transfers would follow. Not to any decent sides, of course, that ship had sailed long ago. But a succession of relatively smaller teams dotted around the lesser leagues. Sampdoria, the last of the ‘good’ clubs was followed by Konyaspor, where he enjoyed a prosperous period scoring 44 goals in 77 appearances, before switching over to Konyaspor and eventually Qatar Sports Club.
Which tells you as much as you need to know about his descent into obscurity, really.
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