ETO'O TALKS EARLY LIFE STORY

Posted on: Tue 29 Oct 2013

Eto'oSamuel Eto'o will be appearing in the Megastore at Stamford Bridge tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) to sign copies of the first part of his new autobiography.

Samuel Eto'o - Birth of a Champion chronicles in cartoon form his youthful dream to be a footballer and his early steps on that road, including a move to France at a very young age and the influence of earlier Cameroon stars. Ahead of the signing session, Eto'o spoke to the official Chelsea website about the book…

The graphic novel, cartoon-style book form is popular in the French-speaking world but unusual for a footballer's autobiography. Why did you choose this format?
'I wanted to use children's language because they are the future for all of us, and they are the present for us all, and I wanted to communicate in their language.

'Of course like any child I read books like this when I was young. I wanted to tell the story of this part of my life and this is in the first volume. We are going to go as far as nine parts, which is the number I often wore on my shirt.'

Money raised from your book is going towards your foundation. What work does that do?
'I want to give back to Africa what Africa gives to me, my chance to play football, and through the Foundation I have football schools which I am financing. I have quite a few young players from them who are at Barcelona and I have another one who is in the first team squad at Malaga, Fabrice Olinga.

'Furthermore, we are trying to build hospitals and at the moment a second one is being finished in the largest city of Cameroon which is Douala, and we paid for people to be brought to Europe for operations.

'The work is not only in Europe. We have a football school in Gabon which I opened with a friend and I have another school which is in Nairobi in Kenya.'

It is clear from this first part of the book that it was not an easy path to being a professional, with your family to convince and problematic changes of country at an early age.
'I have had a lot of challenges and I thank the good God because I have overcome them. I still have challenges and I pray that he will help me to overcome them as well.'

The book reveals you were soon nicknamed 'Little Milla', after Cameroon striker Roger Milla who was one of the first African players to become famous worldwide due to the 1982 World Cup. It is also clear he was a major inspiration for you.
'Roger Milla has been a really important influence on my life just the same way as God and my parents. He has always inspired me and to see all that he achieved during his career, that has always given me strength to keep on fighting and to seek to be better every day.'

Milla is most remembered in England for the 1990 World Cup and especially the quarter-final when Cameroon met England. It's easy to see how that team would have inspired young African players. Were you old enough at the time?
'Yes, I watched the match. The referee gave England penalties! That Cameroon side were incredible. It is a pity because people don't speak too much about them anymore.'

Eto'o will be in the Megastore at Stamford Bridge from 4pm to 5.30pm. Supporters are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Please note that only Samuel Eto'o - Birth of a Champion books will be signed. Once you have purchased the book you will need to join the queue and be given a wristband to be seen. There will be a limit of one signature per person.

Terms and Conditions:

- Only 'Samuel Eto'o - Birth of a Champion' books will be signed. Once you have purchased a book you will need to join the queue and be given a wristband to be seen.

- Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

- Only one signature per person.

- Once capacity has been reached the queue will be capped and communicated via the website.

- Megastore management's decision is final on who will be seen.

- Player appearance and timings are subject to change/cancellation at the last minute.

- Photo opportunities will be limited.