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Samuel Eto’o’s absolutely wild World Cup…so far

18:17 GMT 08/12/2022
Samuel Eto'o fight
The Cameroon FA President may have hung up his boots, but he’s been at the heart of some bizarre and bonkers stories this World Cup
  • Samuel Eto'o

    Samuel Eto’o in 2022

    Cameroon great Samuel Eto’o may have played in four World Cups, but he never quite made the headlines in those tournaments like he has in 2022.

    The former Barcelona superstar is in Qatar in his capacity as Fecafoot president, but he finds himself in the midst of an absolutely rollercoaster tournament!

    Here are Eto’o’s best and worst moments of the campaign so far…strap yourselves in.


    Cameroon wouldn’t be departing Qatar early

    Despite being beaten by Uzbekistan in an international friendly in September, Eto’o remained bullish about Cameroon’s chances at the World Cup…insisting that the team’s ambition was still to go the distance.

    “Our objective is still the same; to depart Qatar on the evening of December 18, the date of the World Cup final,” he told state broadcaster CRTV. “We won’t lose sight of our objective.”

    Fighting talk, certainly…there’s nothing like a loss against Uzbekistan to get the optimism flowing.

  • Andre Onana Cameroon 2022 World Cup

    Playing a part in Andre Onana’s early exit?

    However, one Cameroon star certainly did depart the tournament early, with influential goalkeeper Onana cut from the team after one match and departing soon after.

    Eto’o likes to present himself as a benevolent statesman, but he was seemingly unable—or unwilling—to patch up the differences between the Internazionale No. 1 and head coach Rigobert Song.

    It was Eto’o who made the call that Onana would remain in the team hotel rather than accompany the squad for the Serbia game, amidst circulating rumours that the keeper was unhappy with some of the president’s decision-making.

  • Predicting Morocco would reach the final

    As this slidelist will explore, Eto’o made some ambitious predictions ahead of the tournament.

    However, one call that he may yet have got right is foreseeing big things for the Atlas Lions of Morocco.

    Eto’o predicted the North Africans will go the distance and reach the World Cup final, and having ousted Spain to set up a quarter-final with Portugal, this ambitious forecast may yet come true.

  • Reuniting with Ronaldinho

    One of the most heart-warming moments of Eto’o’s World Cup came early in the competition, when the Cameroon great was reunited with his ex-Barcelona teammate Ronaldinho.

    The duo enjoyed glorious moments together in La Liga, and conquered Europe together as part of a magnificent side in 2006.

    The warm affection between the two legends was clear to see.

  • Rigobert Song, Cameroon

    More motivational talks?

    During the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, Fecafoot published various videos of Eto’o stepping into the Cameroon dressing room to deliver some inspirational speeches to his charges.

    There were expectations that Eto’o would emulate his passionate—and often critical—discourses during the World Cup, but largely, he hasn’t been following suit…or at least Fecafoot haven’t been publishing his discourse.

    Speaking ahead of the tournament, he begged his players to “be good soldiers for your generals,” while informing his squad that he was “convinced” there was no team better than the Cameroon.

    No pressure then, lads…

  • Gareth Southgate England 2022

    Slagging off Gareth Southgate

    Speaking ahead of Senegal’s last 16 meeting with England, Eto’o compared the two sides, coming to the conclusion that the Teranga Lions were far superior to the Three Lions.

    “England were never champions of Europe and they’re facing the champions of Africa,” he began. “They only World Cup England have won was due to a extra time and a contentious goal.”

    Perhaps his words were intending to big up the West Africans, rather than belittle England, but Eto’o’o then opted to make things personal, by turning his aim towards Gareth Southgate…one of the nicest men in football.

    “I remind you that Senegal have a former captain—who played at the World Cup—as a coach, while England have a coach who’s only known one big club…Middlesbrough!”

    A bit needless from Eto’o, and needless to say, his prediction that Senegal would emerge victorious was well off the mark as they fell to a 3-0 defeat.

  • Turning up in a Senegal kit

    In fairness, it was little surprise that Eto’o would throw his weight behind Senegal ahead of their meeting with England, with the Cameroon boss having already been spotted sporting the Teranga Lions’ kit around stadiums in Qatar.

    We get it, Samuel…you really like Senegal!

  • Harry Kane England 2022

    Predicting Qatar would eliminate England

    Maybe Eto’o just doesn’t like England, he did after all make the baffling prediction that Qatar would beat the Three Lions in the Round of 16.

    The Cameroon great forecast that the hosts would escape the group and go on to reach the quarter-finals before being defeated by France.

    Anyone who watched Qatar’s performances at the World Cup will quickly have been acutely aware that Eto’o’s forecast had little substance.

  • Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting Vincent Aboubakar.

    Predicting Cameroon would win the World Cup

    Not only did Eto’o predict that Morocco would reach the World Cup final, and that Qatar would eliminate England en route to the quarters, but he also predicted that Cameroon would win the whole thing.

    Well, it would certainly be a remarkable achievement, with no African team having ever reached even the semi-finals, but the Indomitable Lions’ group stage exit ultimately suggested that their footballing chief was just hot air and wishful thinking.

  • Eto'o fight

    Kicking an Algerian journalist in the face

    This incident, of course, made global headlines, and doesn’t really need more explanation, with footage emerge of Eto’o assaulting an Algerian Youtuber.

    Cameroonian defences of Eto’o—that he was being persistently hassled by the journalist—are unlikely to be accepted more broadly, while the ex-striker’s apology largely fell on deaf ears.

    Eto’o appears to be remaining at the World Cup for now, although with reports that the police have been informed of the incident, it remains to be seen what the immediate future looks like for the Fifa invitee.