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Drogba vs Eto’o: Who was the greater African striker?

Published on: 31 March 2020
Drogba vs Eto’o: Who was the greater African striker?
Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast National Soccer Team, left, with Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon National Soccer team reacts during a meeting before a training session in St-Gratien, outside Paris, France. Friday, May 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Each gamer outlined a technology and are more likely to go down because the continent’s most interesting…however who’s primary?

Soccer rivalries give the game an additional edge; simply assume Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi, Pele vs Diego Maradona and even Patrick Vieira vs Roy Keane.

Whereas debates over who’s the higher might typically be taken too far by critics or followers of the aforementioned gamers, it offers the sport extra spice and which means.

In Africa, there’s in all probability no debate higher than Didier Drogba vs Samuel Eto’o, two contrasting strikers whose influence at residence and overseas within the 2000s and early 2010s can’t be understated.

The previous was a late bloomer, finest identified for his tempo and energy at Olympique Marseille and Chelsea, who possessed an uncanny knack for delivering within the massive video games. The opposite was probably the greatest exports from Cameroon within the final twenty years, taking part in with the perfect and thriving in varied methods and successful practically each main trophy for membership and nation.

When he appears to be like again on his profession, the Ivory Coast legend will probably keep in mind a quick encounter with Jose Mourinho within the Stade Velodrome tunnel when Marseille hosted Porto within the 2003-04 Champions League marketing campaign.

The Portuguese coach supposedly praised the frontman and promised to signal him when he had the assets…an assurance he delivered on when he turned Chelsea boss.

Jose Mourinho & Didier Drogba

It was the ex-Porto coach who turned the striker into one of many feared frontmen in Europe, along with his ingenious man-management getting the very best out of the highly effective striker.

Whereas Drogba’s numbers over the course of his profession might not have been prolific, and there have been additionally persistent diving accusations thrown at him, there’s a faculty of thought which believes his influence shouldn’t be measured by numbers alone.

Folks with this notion have a tendency to have a look at the frontman’s all-round contributions to Chelsea from 2004 to 2012 which included his defensive enter, hold-up play, selflessness and fairly spectacular help numbers.

He had the persona and affect to alter video games without having to attain and help, traits that don’t fairly present up on shiny metrics at the moment.

Nonetheless, he scored targets; massive targets that helped the Blues win lots of their trophies to determine the West London membership as one of many main sides on the continent.

Didier Drogba - 2012 Şampiyonlar Ligi

None got here larger than his immaculate show of management and cojones within the London aspect’s 2012 Champions League run which culminated of their first and solely winners’ medal to this point.

Drogba scored decisive strikes of their last group stage sport with Valencia on the Bridge, however, added vital targets towards Napoli, Barcelona and Bayern Munich within the last.

Granted, he rode his luck just a little, having conceded penalties within the semi-final and last, however he was in all probability due some fortune after close to misses in earlier years and the 2008 last crimson card towards Manchester United.

The key sticking level was his Ivory Coast profession which noticed him fail to win any worldwide titles, regardless of having the posh of the so-called Golden Technology that included the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya.

Whereas the two-time African Participant of the 12 months had no title to point out for 65 worldwide targets, nevertheless, his function in ending a five-year civil warfare in his nation will ceaselessly paint him a hero within the eyes of his compatriots.

He netted 168 targets and 86 assists in 381 matches for Chelsea, secured 4 Premier League titles in addition to a number of cup wins in England and successes in Turkey and the US over the course of his profession. 44 UCL targets, 14 greater than Eto’o managed, additionally confirmed he turned it on European nights, which is totally no shock for somebody as clutch as Drogba.

Andres Iniesta and Samuel Eto'o of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Final match against Manchester United on May 27, 2009

Eto’o, then again, had the pure expertise and did terribly nicely to reside as much as his precocious potential. It’s not everybody who will get an opportunity for a World Cup debut at 17, simply over a 12 months after his maiden worldwide look as a 15-year-old.

His superiority over Drogba is mirrored within the worldwide area, the place he loved success taking part in for the Indomitable Lions; successful Olympic gold as soon as, and claiming the Africa Cup of Nations on two events.

No one has extra Afcon targets than the previous Actual Madrid ahead (18) and it’s no shock he’s received double the Ivorian’s Footballer of the 12 months awards.

Even in membership soccer at Barcelona and Internazionale, the ahead claimed two trebles in 2008-09 and 2009-10 – the fourth participant in historical past to attain the feat – and his tendency to thrive in a number of tactical schemes highlighted his well-rounded nature. That is an antithesis of Drogba who solely thrived as a centre-forward and infrequently thrived when paired with one other striker.

What made Eto’o additional particular wasn’t simply his spectacular trophy haul, but additionally his big-game mentality to ship at any time when his sides have been in difficult conditions.

A pertinent instance was in Barcelona’s 2006 Champions League last win over Arsenal, a sport the Cameroon star was named Man of the Match. He received the free-kick that led to Jens Lehmann’s early dismissal earlier than netting the equalizer with 15 minutes to play within the Spanish aspect’s eventual 2-1 victory.

Samuel Eto'o Barcelona

As well as, he scored the opening aim within the 2009 last win over Manchester United too, opening the scoring within the 10th-minute of a 2-Zero success, whereas he confirmed his selflessness a 12 months later by giving his all in a defensive proper wing function as Mourinho’s counter-attacking Inter Milan beat Bayern 2-0.

In addition to the aforementioned moments, the ex-Cameroon frontman scored vital strikes within the 2000 Afcon last towards Nigeria and scored one of many targets within the Olympics last win over Spain to erase a two-goal deficit and pressure extra-time – the Central African nation have been to win on penalties.

Eto’o not solely possessed the big-game nous of Drogba, however had the method and tactical data to function and thrive in several ways and formations.

The ex-Barca star scored a aim each two video games over the course of his membership profession (359 targets in 718 video games) versus the Ivorian who managed a aim each 2.three matches (300 targets in 686 appearances). Nonetheless, the Chelsea legend arrange extra targets – 122 to 116 – regardless of taking part in fewer video games and accruing lesser minutes over the course of their careers.

The Ivory Coast legend will in all probability go down as one of many nice African forwards of all time however Eto’o is definitely a step above on this rivalry. The Indomitable Lions’ high scorer just isn’t solely the best ever African striker, however arguably additionally the very best ever to have graced the continent.


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