Sunday 4 December 2016

Eto'o plays down greatest tag

Published 21/12/2010 | 15:42

Newly-crowned African Player of the Year Samuel Eto'o has played down suggestions his latest award makes him the continent's greatest-ever player.

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The Cameroon and Inter Milan striker took the prize for the fourth time at the awards ceremony in Cairo last night.

He finished ahead of Chelsea forward Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast and Sunderland's Ghanaian front-man Asamoah Gyan.

It saw Eto'o surpass Abedi Pele and George Weah, who took the title three times each in the past, and added to the titles he claimed in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

But he told the Confederation of African Football (CAF) website, www.cafonline.com: "To win footballer of the year four times is to create a new record but I don't think it gives me the right to say I am the best.

"There were greats in previous generations who had different challenges and situations to me.

"You can't really compare."

The 29-year-old enjoyed little success with his country over the past 12 months as they were bundled out early in both the African Nations Cup and the World Cup in South Africa with Eto'o scoring two goals in each tournament.

But he flourished with his Italian club where he netted 16 goals during a highly successful campaign under then coach Jose Mourinho, who took them to the treble.

He continued: "It is a pleasure to be a winner again, to take it for the fourth time against such top opposition.

"Africa now has so many good players and there is lots of talent coming up, so this might be a last chance for me."

Eto'o had been second favourite behind Gyan, the Ghanaian whose goalscoring exploits guided his nation to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, the first global finals on African soil.

Gyan also helped the Black Stars reach the final of AFCON and he added: "He (Eto'o) is a great player who has been a fantastic example to many of us in Africa.

"I hope one day I will also win this award like him, it has been a very good year for me and I am happy for Eto'o's record win."

Press Association

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