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Eto'o rejects Africa's best talk

Samuel Eto'o
Eto'o's fourth African Footballer of the Year title is a record

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o has denied that he is Africa's greatest ever player despite winning a record fourth African Footballer of the Year title on Monday.

The Inter Milan striker, 29, crowned a year of unprecedented club success with the award.

The Cameroon captain has now achieved more honours and won more major medals than any other African footballer.

"I don't think winning the award four times gives me the right to say I'm the best," he said in Cairo.

"There were greats in previous generations who had different challenges and situations to me. You can't really compare the times.

"Now there are youngsters who are climbing the ladder of success behind me and who are coming up really fast. Who is to say who is the best?"

These honours are not something that you seek out but when they come they give great pleasure

Samuel Eto'o

But some observers believe there is a case to be made that Eto'o's achievements are unsurpassed by any of the other top footballers to have emerged from Africa.

The Indomitable Lion's fourth award beats Ghanaian Abedi Pele's trio of successive African titles in the early 1990s.

At international level, Eto'o has competed at three World Cup finals, won the African Nations Cup twice (scoring a record 18 finals goals in the process) and won an Olympic gold in 2000.

But it is at club level where the Nkon-born Eto'o has excelled.

After rising to prominence with Malaga, he won two Champions Leagues with Barcelona, scoring in both the 2006 and 2009 finals, and was victorious again in May with new club Inter Milan.

With both teams he won domestic league and cup honours too.

On Saturday, Eto'o not only won the Fifa Club World Cup for the first time but was also named player of the tournament after Inter Milan beat DR Congo's African champions TP Mazembe in the final.

The baby-faced Eto'o's exceptional speed and finishing ability have set him apart from many of his contemporaries.

His achievements overshadow a gallery of legends, the likes of Mozambican-born Eusebio, who played in four European Cup finals but won just once, Roger Milla, who was named the best African player of the last century and Abedi Pele, who won club honours but never qualified with his country for the World Cup.

Eto'o's achievements also easily outshine current rival Drogba but he must still match the 1995 achievement of Liberian George Weah, the only African to ever be crowned Fifa World Player of the Year.

"These honours are not something that you seek out but when they come they give great pleasure. And they motivate too," Eto'o said.

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see also
Eto'o wins record African award
20 Dec 10 |  African

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