Samuel Eto'o was the 30th best player of 2009-10, according to Goal.com experts...Welcome to the Goal.com 50! In this special series, Goal.com editors worldwide vote for the top 50 players of 2009-10. We count down to the announcement of the winner on August 10th with profiles of each and every player who made it into the top 50...
There was a new role and a new team for Samuel Eto'o this past season, but the Cameroonian enjoyed the same type of success that has seen him become a household name over the past few years as he claimed his second consecutive treble.
It was no secret last summer that the Cameroon star was destined to leave Barcelona. He joined Inter in one of the most spectacular transfer deals of all-time, as the Blaugrana paid a reported €46 million plus Eto'o in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in late July 2009 - a deal that, in the end, favoured president Massimo Moratti's club thanks to Eto'o's efforts.
His career with the Nerazzurri started well, with the hit-man scoring a number of goals in the first-half of the campaign. Meanwhile, he also came a very respectable fifth in the voting for the 2009 Ballon d'Or, but former team-mate Lionel Messi was a deserved winner.
However, performances began to stagnate for Eto'o after the holiday break and upon his return from the African Cup of Nations, he struggled to get in the line-up due to the form of Diego Milito, Mario Balotelli and winter-signing Goran Pandev in then coach Jose Mourinho's 4-2-3-1 system.
But with true champions, they are never down for long and it did not take too much time for the 2000 Olympic Gold medallist to get back on track in a wide role on the right, creating a superb counter-attacking unit and combining brilliantly with the likes of Maicon and Wesley Sneijder.
Becoming less of a pure striker and more of a support player, his work-rate, intelligence, and quickness down the flank showed he had adapted to perform exceptionally in a more versatile role, sacrificing himself for the team. As the season went into its latter stages, his energetic play was also a big part of Inter's Serie A and Coppa Italia triumphs - setting up several goals on the road to silverware and a historic treble for the Milan-based club.
Moment of the Season
Scoring a poacher's goal at Stamford Bridge to show he was back on track.
Unfortunately, the World Cup 2010 was not fruitful for Cameroon, as they crashed out in the group stages, but the player still managed to fire in two goals, one each in losses to Denmark and the Netherlands. Nonetheless, a constant victor like Eto'o was very disappointed to be going home so early from South Africa.
But at 29 years of age, there are still opportunities for Eto'o to do what he does best, keep on winning...