Samuel Eto'o: "Winning the first Olympic gold for Cameroon was unforgettable"

The former Cameroonian striker, current ambassador for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, remembers his participation in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and looks forward to the first World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world.


To speak of Samuel Eto'o is to speak of a striker of the time, of those who no longer remain: strong, powerful and with a lot of goal. His numbers and trophies reflect a successful track record in European football. More than 400 goals between teams and selection; 4 times named African Footballer of the Year; 8 titles at FC Barcelona, where 3 leagues and 2 Champions League stand out; Inter Milan star de Mourinho winner of a Champions League and a scudetto; and gold medal with Cameroon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Sydney 2000

In an interview for the FIFA World Cup ™, the retired Cameroonian striker wanted to recall his feelings at the Australian Olympics, where Cameroon won its first gold in the entire history of the country in any Olympic modality: "It was a sensation incredible, especially because we had some difficulties during the tournament. I want to take this opportunity to thank again all my teammates, my 'soldiers', during this tournament. Because it was very difficult, but in the end we won the gold medal by beating Spain Having the privilege of being part of such a historic moment for my country, at an early stage in my career, was really special and something I will never forget. "

When asked about the moment he most remembers from those Olympics, Eto'o is left with the extra time of the quarterfinals against Brazil: "When the game went into extra time with the golden goal rule. Brazil had a great team with players like Ronaldinho and they were favorites. Not many people thought we would beat Brazil, but we always believed, even when we had two players sent off, which means we played overtime with only nine players. In the second half, Modeste Mbami scored the winning goal that sent us into the next round and kept our dream of making history alive. "

Regarding the escape that the Olympic Games represent for the youngest footballers, Eto'o is clear that they must take advantage of their opportunities, since the whole planet will be watching them: "The Olympics have helped to create many stars of the future, so Of course, I'll be watching in hopes of seeing some young and exciting players make a name for themselves.

In addition, he sends a message of encouragement to the African representatives participating in the Olympics: "I look forward to seeing the Ivory Coast, South Africa and Egypt representing Africa. Hopefully they can perform well and make their countries proud in the tournament."

When choosing between winning an Olympic gold or a World Cup, the Cameroonian, speaking from the point of view of a footballer, is clear: "Both are great competitions and the pinnacle of sport. Every athlete dreams of winning gold in the Olympic Games, while every footballer dreams of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup. In my opinion, the next World Cup in Qatar will be the biggest event. "

Qatar 2022

Heading into the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Samuel Eto'o dreams big and does not hide it: "I have one wish: to witness a final between Cameroon and Qatar to live a once-in-a-lifetime experience." If this happened, it would undoubtedly be a historic final, but the chances are very remote, although they already know that dreaming is free, and the Cameroonian knows a lot about dreams come true.

At present, Eto'o has lived in Doha since 2018, when he went to play for Qatar SC, a team where he permanently retired from professional football in 2019. His life in the Qatari capital is the rest that any footballer seeks after years at the highest level: "I wake up, do a little work, then maybe later I go to Souq Al Wakrah. When people recognize me, they ask 'what are you doing here?", but I love that place. Then I like to spend the afternoons in Katara. I like the restaurants high up in the Katara Hills where you have an amazing and peaceful view and you can enjoy the sunset. "

From Qatar, Samuel Eto'o encourages everyone who can to travel to the 2022 World Cup and be amazed at what the country has to offer: "Fans can have an incredible vacation while still following his passion, football. The weather in December In Qatar it tends to be around 20 degrees, so it will be the perfect conditions for the players, but also for the fans, who I am sure will have a great time exploring Qatar during the tournament. "

For the World Cup in Qatar there is still more than a year to go, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have already started and it's time to enjoy the biggest sporting event in the world. And although this year the public is missed in the stands, the Olympic spirit continues to beat in the hearts of all athletes.

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