One of the ironies of Samuel Eto’o playing for FC Barcelona is that he initially joined Real Madrid, who immediately put him on loan; First to Second Division CD Leganes; then in the first division Espanyol after having played only one league match for Madrid; and finally in Mallorca. He did so well at the latter club that they signed him for a club record and became the club’s all-time top scorer with a total of 54 goals between 2000 and 2004.
The Cameroonian striker signed for FC Barcelona after a series of negotiations between Barcelona, Mallorca and Real Madrid who had retained an option on him. On the one hand, Madrid did not require him in the squad as they already had two attackers in the form of Ronaldo and Raul; on the other hand, they didn’t want him to play for Barcelona, a club who were looking for a quality striker to consolidate the attack after being unable to come to an agreement with midfielder Edgar Davids, who had passed the second half of the match. 2003-2004 season on loan at the Catalan club.
With Eto’o in place as a striker and Ronaldinho as an attacking midfielder, Samuel Eto’o quickly proved to be good value for money and scored a total of 24 league goals in the 2004-2005 season. Although he helped FC Barcelona to the league title, he narrowly missed the title of top scorer in La Liga.
However, in the celebrations that followed at Camp Nou, he gave a speech in which he openly criticized Real Madrid, apparently venting the bitterness he felt at being ignored by the club in favor of a loan. He subsequently had to retract and apologize.
The following year Samuel Eto’o was able to improve his league score and with a total of 26 goals he narrowly won the “Pichichi” crown, just one goal ahead of David Villa of Valencia. His strong performance on the pitch also saw him score six Champions League goals, helping to propel Barcelona to the final against Arsenal. He was heavily involved in the result as the Arsenal goalkeeper was first sent off for a foul against Eto’o in the first 20 minutes; failing to capitalize on a man’s advantage, Eto’o equalized in the 76th minute on a pass from Larsson and Belletti scored the winning goal a few minutes later.
On the basis of a solid season, Samuel Eto’o was awarded the title of best striker in the UEFA Champions League and best African player for the third year in a row.
Source by David Leigh