The Ghanaian has placed the Cameroonian at the top of his list of outstanding footballers from the continent.
Cameroon and Barcelona legend Samuel Eto’o Fils is the greatest man from Africa to have played the beautiful game, former Ghana and Bayern Munich star Samuel Osei Kuffour believes.
Eto’o is indeed a celebrated football icon globally, having won the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on two occasions (2000 and 2002), a 2000 Olympic Games gold medal and the Champions League on three occasions.
Adjudged African Footballer of the Year four times, the former striker also has a 2010 Fifa Club World Cup title in his cabinet.
“It’s difficult to say [who is the greatest African Footballer of all-time] because it’s a different generation now,” Kuffour, himself a 2001 Champions League winner, a Fifa U17 World Cup champion and an Olympic bronze medallist, told Goal in an African Legends Series interview.
“When you look at my generation, people may say [Augustine] Jay-Jay Okocha [of Nigeria] was brilliant. When you go to another generation, people may say Eto’o was brilliant.
“For the generation ahead of me, people may say George Weah [of Liberia] was good, Kalusha [Bwalya of Zambia]] was good.
“When you go to the next one, they would say Rabah Madjer [of Algeria] was great. Some people may also say Mahmoud El Khatib from Egypt was good. [You also have] Lakhdar Belloumi [from Algeria]… different, different generations.
“But for me, if you tell me to choose one, I will choose [based on] consistency. I don’t hate anybody, but I have to be strong and firm and choose.
“He may not have won the world player of the year but for me, I think because of the consistency, I’ll give you Samuel Eto’o [as my best of all-time].”
At club level, Eto’o’s first major success was winning the Spanish Copa del Rey with Real Mallorca in 2002-03, having cut ties with Real Madrid who brought him from Cameroon as a youth team player. While with Real, he also had loan stints with Leganes and Espanyol.
Eto’o joined Barcelona in 2004 and would go on to win the Spanish league title on three occasions, the Copa del Rey in 2009, the Spanish Super Cup twice and the Champions League in 2005-06 and 2008-09.
In 2009, the 39-year-old transferred to Italian fold Inter Milan, with whom he won a quintuple of trophies (Serie A title, Coppa Italia, Italian Super Cup, Champions League and Fifa Club World Cup) in 2010.
He has also played for English outfits Chelsea and Everton, Sampdoria in Italy, Turkish duo Antalyaspor and Konyaspor as well as Qatari side Qatar SC.
On an individual level, Eto’o, who stands as the all-time top scorer at Afcon with 18 goals, and also as the all-time top scorer for Cameroon and Real Mallorca, won the African Footballer of the Year awards in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010. He finished third in the race for the 2005 Fifa World Best Player award. These are only few of his many individual accolades.
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