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Samuel Eto'o: Striker Gets Record-Setting Contract to Join Anzhi Makhachkala

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2011

(Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Samuel Eto'o will be joining Anzhi Makhachkala after the Russian side agreed to a transfer fee of more than $35 million with Inter Milan, his former team. Eto'o will earn an annual salary of $29 million, which will make him the highest-paid soccer player in the world, according to the Associated Press.

To put that number in perspective, it is $11.6 million more than Cristiano Ronaldo and $13.8 million more than Lionel Messi, two of the highest paid players before the transfer. Only Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees at $32 million makes a larger base salary in the big four American sports.

Eto'o has scored 250 goals in 469 games in club competitions, including time spent with soccer superpowers Real Madrid, Barcelona and Internazionale. He has also netted 50 in 105 caps with the Cameroon national team.

He excels when one-on-one with a defender and uses his superior speed to his advantage. He is almost unstoppable once he has possession inside the 18-yard box and has a rocket of a shot. All told, Eto'o is probably the best pure goal scorer on the planet.

Anzhi Makhachkala's next game is on Saturday against FK Rostov-Na-Donu. The team, which is nicknamed Dikaya Diviziya, currently sits in fourth place of the Russian Premier League with nine games left in the season.

Seydou Doumbia currently leads the league in scoring with 12 goals. Although it's unlikely Eto'o will be able to catch him in the final portion of the season, there is no doubt he can crack the top 10 in goals by season's end, if he's in form right away.

Eto'o signed a three-year contract with a physical scheduled on Wednesday to complete the transaction. It's a deal that was made possible by the billionaire owner of the team, Suleiman Kerimov.

A 45-year-old investor from Dagestan, Russia, Kerimov bought the squad in January and has proven he's willing to spend big money to improve the roster.

The next home game for Anzhi Makhachkala is on Sept. 11, when they host Volga Nizhny Novgorod. There will be a large crowd expected, despite riots in the area, to welcome their new star. The team actually trains near Moscow and has to travel to play its home games.

Eto'o has gained the reputation as a player who stays happy as long as he's getting consistent touches, but isn't afraid to let his frustration be known if he isn't. The media pressure that comes with a $29 million salary is immense and his past issues will put Eto'o under an even bigger microscope, if that's even possible.

If Eto'o produces at the same level he has been for the past nine seasons, there won't be any problems. That's what Anzhi Makhachkala was banking on when they gave him the richest salary in global soccer history and they'll quickly find out if it was a wise investment.

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