Nomadic Star Samuel Eto'o Explains Why and How He Moved to Both Inter & Real Madrid

Tom Power

​Samuel Eto'o has revealed that his 2009 transfer from Barcelona to Inter Milan was down to an unlikely backer and fellow player - Marco Materazzi.

The much travelled striker spoke to Sky Italia (via ​Football Italia) about a number of incidences throughout his career, including how watching the film 'Gladiator' gave Barca's players the belief to beat Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final.

It was his £17m move to Inter, though, that drew the greatest intrigue from Sky Italia's presenters, and Eto'o explained how ex-Inter and Everton defender Materazzi had a role in seeing him trade La Liga for Serie A.

FC Internazionale Milano v US Citta di Palermo - Tim Cup Final
FC Internazionale Milano v US Citta di Palermo - Tim Cup Final

Eto'o said: “It’s true, I came to Inter because of Materazzi. I take this opportunity to thank him, because even if I didn’t know him, when I was in Cameroon I received a message signed Marco Materazzi.

“I called Demetrio Albertini, who I played with at Barcelona, and asked if he could verify if that really was Materazzi. Five minutes later, I got confirmation. So, if I played at Inter, it was thanks to Marco Materazzi.”

Eto'o went on to plunder 53 goals in just 102 appearances for I Nerazzurri - a strike rate of one-in-two - before his departure for Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in July 2011.

The 36-year-old, who currently plays for Turkish outfit Antalyaspor, is one of a number of world class players to have featured for both Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona throughout his playing career.

Eto'o was a youth star at Cameroonian club Kadji Sports when he was plucked from obscurity to join Real's B-side Castilla and, when quizzed over his time at the Santiago Bernabeu as a young footballer coming through the ranks at one of the biggest clubs in the world, he revealed how bizarre it was to train alongside some of Real's all-time greats after completing a once-in-a-lifetime move from his homeland.

He added: “In Africa there aren’t many opportunities for people, so there are moments when you doubt yourself. When I got to Real Madrid, I thought ‘this is my path, I don’t care what happens, I’ll make it.’

VfB Stuttgart v Antalyaspor - Friendly Match
VfB Stuttgart v Antalyaspor - Friendly Match

“I arrived thanks to a player called Pirri, who was at Madrid, as he saw me play against the Ivory Coast youth team and called me in to have a trial at Real Madrid.

“I didn’t believe him at first, but I got there and met Roberto Carlos, Raul, Redondo – my idols. And Fabio Capello as a Coach. I remember after the training session, Capello came over to me and said: ‘You are staying here.’”

Read more from Tom Power by following him on Twitter!

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes