Here’s a look at the list of the candidates who have been nominated for this year’s awards.
The penultimate player on this list is legendary Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o.
The winner of the award has to be above the age of 28 and still playing. Awarded for a footballer’s outstanding sporting achievements, the winner gets to leave his footprints on the Champions Promenade overlooking the seafront at the Principality of Monaco. Just like the Hollywood walk of fame, only slightly less cool.
Full Name: Samuel Eto’o Fils
DOB: March 10, 1981
Clubs: Real Madrid, Leganes, Espanyol, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Anzhi Makhachkala
Why has he been included on this list?
Samuel Eto’o is a perfect ambassador for the modern game of football. Like many Africans who grace the beautiful game, including Ivorian Didier Drogba (who is also on this list), Eto’o represents that side of the game which says that no matter who you are and where you come from, you can always make your dreams come true.
Eto’o has always remembered his humble African roots and is involved in endless charity projects both in his home continent of Africa and the rest of the world.
On the pitch, he is a clinical forward who has shone at the very highest levels of the game and has consistently impressed on the pitch, in addition to winning several trophies. Like so many on this list, he too has shown no signs of slowing down, despite being 32 years of age and is an example of player longevity at the very top in this day and age.
What’s he won?
Eto’o picked up his first piece of silverware with Mallorca. The island club won the Copa del Rey in 2003 when they beat Recreativo de Huelva 3-0.
He added to that piece of silverware when he moved to Barcelona. He won three Primera Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, two Spanish Super Cups and was part of the team that won two Champions Leagues in 2006 and 2009.
Success continued to find him at Inter, with whom he won the Serie A title in 2010, in addition to two Italian Cups, one Italian Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. He also won a third Champions League title when Inter won it in 2010.
But few on this list have won honours with both club and country. Eto’o’s Cameroon has won two African Cup of Nations during his time with the Indomitable Lions, having already won an Olympic Gold in 2000.
In addition, he has been named African Footballer of the Year on four different occasions and is currently Cameroon’s top scorer with 55 goals. Having entered the European Sports Magazine’s Team of the Year on four different occasions, Eto’o also picked up the pichichi award when he was at Barcelona.
He is currently the African Nations Cup’s all-time greatest scorer and has been included in two UEFA Teams of the Year.
Best and worst moments
Eto’o’s best moments would have been helping Barcelona win their treble in 2009. He scored the opening goal against Manchester United in the final of the UEFA Champions League that year.
But the rush of emotions that floods a footballer when he lifts a trophy with his country can seldom be matched while sporting club colours and Eto’o has had the honour of winning four titles with Cameroon.
Sadly, Eto’o has been at the receiving end of racist taunts throughout his career. He has had bananas, nuts, water bottles and other objects hurled at him because of the colour of his skin, in addition to the endless stream of racist jibes he has been forced to endure.
For this reason, he has not brought his family to matches he takes part in, saying that explaining what he is subjected to on the pitch is hard to explain to a child.
What’s he like off the pitch?
Eto’o is most widely known off the pitch for his charitable activities through La Foundation Eto’o.
The Cameroonian’s charitable organisation conducts activities worldwide and is involved in social integration, education and the development of football at grass root levels. Eto’o has often said that the reason he is so charitable is because a rich man once gave him the opportunity to play football, and that is the reason he is the man he is today.
With that in mind, he realises that he has to give back to those who are less fortunate.
Eto’o has two brothers, both of whom play football. He is married to his childhood sweetheart Georgette. The couple have two children, Siena and Lynn, who live with their mother in Paris.
Can he win the Golden Foot?
He most certainly can. One of the things the awards committee looks at is how footballers are off the pitch and while the more than certainly ticks all the boxes on the pitch, his work off it speaks volumes about the person he is.
He is therefore one of the favourites to win the award.