Turkey’s Antalyaspor brings in Eto’o, fans paralyze airport
CİHAN photoFormer Cameroonian international striker Samuel Eto’o arrived in the southern Turkish city of Antalya on June 23 to sign with Antalyaspor, prompting supporters of the club to paralyze the airport to see their newest transfer.
Eto’o is set to join Antalyaspor, which recently won promotion back to the Super League following a one-season hiatus, from Sampdoria of Italy, the Turkish club said June 24.
Antalyaspor finished fifth in the 2014/2015 Turkish First Division but won promotion to the Super Lig after winning a play-off final over Samsunspor.
Clearly intent on making an impact in the Super Lig, Antalyaspor sent a private jet to Italy with executives to negotiate with Eto’o and then bring him back to Turkey.
“An agreement has been reached in principle with the footballer Samuel Eto’o,” Antalyaspor said in a statement. Financial details have not yet been disclosed as the transfer was about to be finalized.
The private plane brought Eto’o to Antalya in the evening amid fanfare. Several flights in the airport were delayed late June 24 due to torches fired up by Antalyaspor fans who celebrated the arrival of the Cameroonian star.
“Eto’o is done, [former Barcelona and Brazil star] Ronaldinho is next,” Antalyaspor Chairman Gültekin Gencer told journalists in the airport, stressing that talks with the Brazilian’s lawyer and brother would be held in the next one or two days.
Turkey will be the latest stop in Eto’o’s peripatetic career which has seen him perform for the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea. A former mainstay for Cameroon, Eto’o has been named African player of the year four teams and was also voted the third-best player in the world in 2005.
He also played between 2011 and 2013 for Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the Caucasus region of Dagestan before the club’s owner pulled the plug on his ambitions.
Eto’o had signed for Sampdoria only earlier this year.
The coach of the Antalya club in the popular Mediterranean resort, Yusuf Şimşek, described the transfer of Eto’o as “very good and very useful.”
“All the information and experience that he has accumulated will be transferred to his teammates,” he told sports daily Fanatik.