This past week we have seen a lot of drama from Mourinho, et al. But it is not natural for drama to not follow the Special One where-ever he goes. Mourinho himself had brought in Samuel Eto’o at the beginning of his homecoming to Stamford Bridge.
Samuel Eto’o needs no introduction; he is the first player in the world to have won back to back trebles. First with Barcelona in 2009 and then under the Special One himself at Inter Milan. That is where the two forged a lasting bond, and rightly so.
Eto’o had already been a man of five clubs before he showcased his talents at the San Siro and continued in similar fashion after Mourinho left. Rafa Benitez managed to destroy the treble winning squad in less than one season and as soon as the storm calmed a bit at Inter, Eto’o continued his journey around the world.
Mourinho’s homecoming in 2013 had been made difficult by the problems they were facing with their strikers. Fernando Torres had failed to deceive, and Demba Ba was only a backup at best. Mourinho went against an immediate reshuffle and chose to trust an old charge in Eto’o.
However, Eto’s stay with Mourinho was not without its fair share of controversies as the manager spoke in a critical manner of the Cameroon striker regarding his age. Eto’o followed it with a vintage hat trick against Manchester United and remains the last Chelsea player to do so. To cap it all off, he celebrated with what is now referred to as the old man celebration.
Nevertheless, it became clear that Mourinho was not extending his contract and at this time. Roberto Martinez of John Stones fame came to his rescue with a contract at Goodison Park. It was too good an offer to put down. He joined Lukaku but was given a bit part role.
Despite the lack of faith in him, he famously came from the bench to score against his old employer in what was a very thrilling match. However, the striker could not last long at Merseyside as this time his second home came calling. It was an Italian club and how could Eto’o turn down an Italian side. Off he goes to Sampdoria, who unveiled him to much hype and he makes anticipated statements about love, home, et al.
But the Italian romance did not last long as he was at loggerheads with the coaching staff at Sampdoria. It is understandable that a player of his stature would have some ego and Eto’o had truckloads of it. He refused to train at times that his coach wanted him to, and this resulted in a public spat.
So public, in fact, that he did not last an entire period of six months as he again had a new calling. This time from Turkey. Turkish clubs were on their way to becoming the retirement destination for overpaid, overage and underperforming footballers. It was Antalyaspor. Off goes Eto’o to Antalya.
Nobody knows how long will he last at his new home in Turkey but one thing is for sure that he is a man who has made the most of his travels. Mourinho may have worked with hundreds of different players, but Eto’o surely was in a mold of his own. He chose his destinations and journeys and achieved what many can only dream of. If there is one journeyman that Mourinho has loved, it is Samuel Eto’o in spite of his age.
It would not be wrong to say that Eto’o is among the few players who can happily say with a smile that ‘with every broken bone, I swear I lived.’ Let us see where he goes to next because he certainly has some gas to burn in the MLS after Turkey.
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