Cameroon’s four-time African player of the year Samuel Eto’o confirmed on Wednesday that he was calling time on his international career just days after he was stripped of the captaincy of the national side.
“I inform you that I am ending my international career… Thank you to all Africa, and to all my fans for your unconditional support,” the 33-year-old forward announced on his Twitter account.
Eto’o, who had not been named in Cameroon’s 25-man squad for the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations which begin in September, played his last game for The Indomitable Lions during their mediocre World Cup campaign in Brazil.
Eto’o, who on Tuesday signed a two year contract with English Premier League side Everton, played just one match — a 1-0 defeat to Mexico — in his fourth World Cup campaign (1998, 2002, 2010, 2014).
Capped 116 times, he won two Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2008, a competition in which he is the all-time leading scorer with 18 goals.
He is also Cameroon’s record scorer with 56 goals. His biggest triumph with the national side was winning Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000.
Despite his failure to inspire his team on the World Cup stage he won trophies with all his clubs including Champions League titles – two with Barcelona and one with Inter Milan.
As well as his four African player of the year titles he was also the top scorer in La Liga in 2006.
While he barely figured at the World Cup finals in Brazil, officially the reason was a knee injury suffered in the opening defeat by Mexico, the experience was an unhappy one all round with infighting — including openly on the pitch — and poor results which saw them come home after the first round.
However, at the time the ‘Indomitable Lions’ embattled German coach Volker Finke insisted Eto’o still had enough in his legs to carry on playing at international level.
“I don’t think it’s the moment. He has two, three or maybe four years left,” said Finke.
Eto’o, though, shows no sign of having lost his enthusiasm for the sport itself as he highlighted by signing for Everton.
Ironically he may make his debut for them against old club Chelsea on Saturday.