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Eto'o wants Champions League for Sampdoria

AFP , Thursday 29 Jan 2015
Eto
Samuel Eto'o salutes Sampdoria supporters at the end of a Serie A soccer match between Sampdoria and Palermo, in Genoa, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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Cameroon legend Samuel Eto'o says he wants to see new club Sampdoria upset predictions in crisis-hit Serie A and qualify for next season's Champions League.

Eto'o, who helped Inter Milan to an historic treble of league, Cup and Champions League in 2010, was unveiled on Thursday after arriving from Everton on a three-and-a-half-year deal with Sinisa Mihajlovic's Serie A high-flyers.

Sampdoria are currently fifth in Italy's top flight but only two points behind Napoli who occupy the third and last Champions League qualifying place.

A former three-time African Player of the Year, Eto'o has won three Champions League titles so his arrival at Sampdoria, beaten by Barcelona in the Wembley final of the 1992 European Cup final, has caused quite a stir.

The club were purchased last year by flamboyant film producer Massimo Ferrero, and Eto'o said he is ready to help Ferrero achieve his dream of taking the club into Europe's premier club competition.

"I was born in a poor country, although Cameroon is one of the most beautiful countries in the world," Eto'o told reporters on Thursday.

"I've shown that by working hard and following my dream you can do anything. I became one of the top players in the world. So the president has every right to dream and to achieve his dream."

Despite making his name at Mallorca, Eto'o burst on to the European scene after signing for Barcelona in 2004, going on to score more than 100 goals for the Spanish giants in nearly 150 appearances, winning the Champions League twice (2006, 2009) and picking up three African Player of the Year awards.

The Cameroonian joined Inter in 2009, claiming another Champions League trophy under Jose Mourinho in 2010 to become the only player to win the treble in successive seasons.

After a lucrative two-year spell at Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, Eto'o was axed along with several of the club's other high earners.

He played for a season at Chelsea before joining Everton on a two-year deal in time for the current campaign, but scored only four goals in 20 games for Roberto Martinez's side.

Despite a somewhat surprising return to Serie A amid what is the country's biggest football crisis of modern times, Eto'o has pledged to try and lift the gloom by doing his talking on the pitch.

"Several years ago I was asked the same question when I arrived at Inter. It was a period when a lot of big players were leaving (Italy)," added Eto'o.

"Back then we had Kaka, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Andriy) Shevchenko.... Now, a lot of them have moved on.

"But football is all about what happens on the pitch, and I proved that by winning everything with Inter. I hope to keep Sampdoria winning, I don't want to hear talk of a crisis."

Ferrero, who also signed Udinese striker Luis Muriel last week, is an outspoken figure in Italy and insists the fans of Sampdoria -- who celebrated their one and only league title in 1991 -- should believe in their Champions League chances.

"Dreams are what life is all about. We went to sleep one night and the next day we went to sign Eto'o," said Ferrero.

Eto'o, who will play with the number 99 jersey -- the old number of ex-Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano -- has yet to discover how he will fit into Mihajlovic's side in the presence of Muriel and current striker Stefano Okaka.

But he added: "I can play in various positions. I will do everything they ask me. I can attack, defend and sacrifice myself if it means we will win."

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