Four-time African player of the year Samuel Eto’o has signalled the end to his glittering 22-year career as a professional footballer.
The 38-year-old former Cameroon and Barcelona star posted a short message on Instagram, stating “The end, towards a new challenge”.
Eto’o, Cameroon’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 56 goals in 118 games, also enjoyed brief stints in the English Premier League with Chelsea and Everton.
As a 16-year-old, Eto’o joined Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1996 but was limited to just three appearances before loan spells with Leganes, Espanyol and Mallorca.
After sealing a permanent move to Mallorca in 2000, he struck 54 goals in 133 outings to establish himself as the team’s all-time leading scorer.
His move to Barcelona followed in 2004 where the Douala native won three Spanish La Liga titles before guiding the Catalonian side to two European Champions League triumphs in 2006 and 2009 where he scored in both finals.
In 2006, Eto’o became the first and only African to win the Spanish La Liga Golden Boot, scoring 26 goals in 34 games.
At Barcelona, the Cameroonian forward scored 108 goals in 144 games before sealing a move to Inter Milan in 2009 where he won his third Champions League crown as well as an Italian Serie A title and the Fifa Club World Cup in 2010.
Eto’o then spent two years in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala before joining Chelsea in 2013. He later had short spells at Everton, Sampdoria and Antalyaspor before moving to Konyaspor and then Qatar SC.
He made his debut for Cameroon against Costa Rica in 1996 and was the youngest player at the 1998 World Cup aged 17 years and three months.
Eto’o went on to play in three more World Cups, captaining Cameroon at the 2010 and 2014 editions where he scored two goals.
He was part of the team that won two successive Africa Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002 and went on to become the tournament’s record scorer with 18 goals.
Eto’o also has an Olympic gold medal which he won with Cameroon in 2000 and was voted the third best player in the world in 2005. (BBC)