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Samuel Eto’o completes curious move to Russia



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Inter Milan have sold striker Samuel Eto’o to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala for a fee of £21.8 million. Eto’o will become the highest paid footballer in the world at £17.9m per season. Makhachkala are attempting to become a Russian and European power by spending large amounts of cash on international stars.

Samuel Eto’o, while 30-years old, is still a very productive forward. Last season, the Cameroonian striker scored 37 goals and assisted on 15 in 53 appearances in all competitions for Inter. His body has not broken down like many players who flirt with 30.

Anzhi Makhachkala was a middling Russian club before they were bought by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov in January 2011. Since Kerimov acquired the club, Anzhi’s notable additions have included Roberto Carlos, Mbark Boussoufa, Yuri Zhirkov, and now Eto’o.

All of the players mentioned above received tremendously high wages to move to Russia, but Eto’o will be making more then any other player in the world. According to The Guardian, Eto’o stands to make £17.9m after tax per season for three years. Cristiano Ronaldo, the former highest-paid player, will make around €8m less than Eto’o according to AP.

Why do do Anzhi have to pay their players ridiculous amounts? Well, the Russian Premier League is not the most prestigious competition, but that is not the reason. It is because of the recent violent activity in the area of Makhachkala, which is in the Republic of Dagestan. Dageston is located next to Chechnya, which has a separatist government fighting for power.

According to AP, Anzhi players live outside Moscow and only fly to their their stadium in Makhachkala for 15 home matches a season. For one home match, the team travels around 2,000 kilometres.

Anzhi was founded in 1991, and have never finished higher than 4th in the Russian Premier League. Their rise shows the power of money in football today. Despite their unfavorable location and strength of league, players like Samuel Eto’o and Roberto Carlos have joined Anzhi to earn an extraordinary amount of money. Anzhi are a supercharged Manchester City.

Samuel Eto’o will join Anzhi Makhachkala from Inter Milan. A few years back, this would have seemed impossible, but football is big business, and cash wins out every time. Kerimov is attempting to build a Champions League side, and Eto’o is still a top striker. The Cameroonian international will become the highest-paid footballer in the world and will have to fly 2,000 kilometres to play a home match. Football is interesting.

Jack Tomczuk is a contributor to Soccerlens. You can find more of his ideas on his blog The Clock End or follow him on Twitter.