Eto’o to become world’s highest-paid player after transfer to Russian side Anzhi

Eto'o (Getty Images)

The highest-paid soccer player in the world is no longer going to be Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi isn't the one claiming his throne.

After announcing that it has secured his rights from Inter Milan for a reported $39 million, Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala is going to pay Samuel Eto'o a reported $29 million per year over the next three seasons to make him the highest-paid player in the world by a wide margin. Ronaldo currently makes about $17.4 million, while Messi is behind him at $15.2 million.

The 30-year-old Eto'o has been one of the world's better goal-scoring forwards, tallying at a high rate for Inter and Barcelona over the last seven years while capturing three UEFA Champions League titles. Few would rate the Cameroonian striker as someone worthy of the world's top contract, though. He'll join former Brazilian international Roberto Carlos at Anzhi, which was bought by Russian oil tycoon Suleiman Kerimov in January.

What do you think about the transfer? Think Eto'o is nuts to leave Inter for Russia? Think Anzhi is nuts to pay that much for the transfer and player? Do you see things working out for both sides?

Share your thoughts below.

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64 Responses to Eto’o to become world’s highest-paid player after transfer to Russian side Anzhi

  1. ga-gone says:

    How can anyone be considered nuts to leave for that kind of money? More power to him man. You gots to get paid.

  2. STX81 says:

    Great move for Eto’o. Go where the money is!

  3. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Of course you can’t blame Eto’o for making the move. And as far as the club is concerned, smaller teams/markets have to overpay to lure big stars. This will work out for everyone involved.

  4. Brad says:

    The players live and train at a camp near Moscow and then fly 1000+ miles to “home” games in the city where Anhzi is located…

  5. al17 says:

    God Bless Him for being smart enough to get paid. Smart move by the club. Very few of us commenting on his purchase had never heard of the club til now. Truly an effective marketing campaign.

  6. Matt S says:

    How can any player possibly be worth that much? They will never recoup the money from sponsors, ticket or shirt sales. I’m sure the owner has plenty of money to burn but that is just silly. You could field a team full of stars for that kind of money (even in Russia)

  7. Robinswood says:

    Certainly not in Russia with limited merchandising opportunities. This one is a real head scratcher.

  8. marco says:

    Will Eto’o be another Torres and end the mega-transfer market.

  9. hendrix says:

    Good deal for Inter. He isn’t worth more than Messi and Ronaldo in this marketplace. They get their transfer fee.

  10. al17 says:

    Mega transfers will never end. They will continue to migrate throughout leagues in the world but they will never end and have been around foever. Not sure how you can compare him to Torres, seeing how Eto’O has scored EVERYWHERE he’s played and some of those teams in Spain before he got to Barca were not good at all.

  11. northzax says:

    the guy is worth billions. 7 of them, according to Forbes. the man owns a 300 foot yacht, which is, funnily enough for an oil man, a pseudo-hybrid. he paid nothing for the team, reportedly, so it’s all play money. what else should a 45 year old multi-billionaire spend his money on? once you have a couple planes, a yacht or two, houses in all the right places and you’ve replaced the Ferrari Enzo you crashed in Nice, what else is there? get a team and throw money at it.

  12. al17 says:

    Yeah he is.

  13. Matt in Detroit says:

    Is there any pretense of a business plan or is this just some egomaniac owner wanting a famous name?

    I question if Dagestan’s market is really that big.

    Basically, Et’o would have to sell 20,000 incremental season tickets at $1000 a piece to justify this transfer.

  14. hendrix says:

    Stop kidding around

  15. Poo says:

    Eto is already filthy rich – maybe money shouldnt be the most important thing, since he’s already extremely wealthy?

  16. hogatroge says:

    Let’s be reasonable people… maybe Eto’o just wanted a change of scenery.

  17. al17 says:


    in addition to an increase in ticket sales factor in how the club will profit from:

    1. Jersey and other merchandising sales

    2. Sponsorship Deals

    3. TV (Domestic & International) also include ad deals into this mix

    4. Tours

    5. Qualifying for Champions League and others

    Billionaire owners are always in it to win it and I’m guessing their owner has figured out a way to make his money back. I’m just guessing these are all parts of the revenue stream that they’re using to recoup their investment.

    You could also be right.

    I do know that a friend of mine who’s Russian whinced and didn’t stutter when he mention Eto’O has no idea where he’s going. Apparently this place is Crazy Rough but hell for GDP money, I’ll learn to cope and ignore it. Whole new meaning to being Thick Skinned.

  18. al17 says:

    Why would I be kidding?

    When it’s all said and done Messi will have accomplished more in his career from the Club level however the same can’t be said of Ronaldo at the moment.

    Unlike Ronaldo who had a rough 1st year at Madrid, Eto’O won a second treble Inter and was still lighting it up.

    He deserves the coin and is a proven winner throughout his career.

  19. Matt S says:

    The amount of beheading videos and clips that pop up when I search Dagestan is slightly unsettling.

  20. Pistowie says:

    He is getting paid almost 30mil a year, how can anyone turn that down?

  21. t says:

    Doesn’t Russia have a bit of a racism problem? Perhaps some of that 29 mil is prepaid hate crime settlement money.

  22. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    I’m pretty sure the FIFA financial fair play rules will quell the mega transfers quite a bit.

  23. Paula says:

    Too bad. Eto’o and Sneijder were the only reasons I watched Serie A.

    That’s a crapload of money for a league with no global audience, but Eto’o has got the hardware to match that offer. Not too many players around at his age with his record.

  24. Erik says:

    “Few would rate the Cameroonian striker as someone worthy of the world’s top contract, though.”

    What makes a person worthy of the top contract in the world? He has won 3 Champions League titles, one after being shipped out of Barcelona for that bag of rocks Ibrahimovic.

    He scores more than 1 goal every 2 games which is top class and has won several league titles. Ronaldo can’t match his record. Messi comes the closest…

  25. JJJ says:

    Ronaldo scored goals by the bucket full last year. His team might not have won the big trophies, but he played great.

  26. Aaron in StL says:

    He’s a Russian oligarch… it doesn’t have to make sense.

  27. John says:

    For 29 mil I would let them fire bananas at me with a T-shirt cannon.

  28. boosted335 says:

    In Russia the gangsters, the business men, and the politicians are all the same people.

    They can and do whatever they want.

    Money is no object.

    Good deal for Eteo- goddamn. Must be nice. He just better not sleep with the owners wife/mistresses…

  29. Harriet Tubman says:

    I think part of that $30 million should be considered hazard pay. I’ve been reading about Anzhi Makhachkala and wow, what a crazy situation. They practice in Moscow and fly to Dagestan just to play games because the home stadium is a (formerly?) war-torn part of Russia.

  30. John says:

    The Players will live and train in Moscow and travel to their “home” games.

  31. Oyeoro says:

    Eto has won everything he can win at the club level. He was an important figure at every club he played for except real madrid (they released him). He continues to perform regardless of the position he plays. You can’t even call him a defensive liability because he helped Inter quell Barca. Lets not discuss his foundations and countless quest to improve the quality of life in Africa. I say go ahead and move on the a retirement league when you can still play and okie-dokie players out of there boots. Sure beats the small sum MLS can pay….

  32. Topher says:

    Hope this works out well for him and he does not have to deal with any racist chants.

  33. Charles says:

    Is that the highest of any sport ?

    I think ARod is still “only” getting $25mm a year.

    It amazes me how low the very high salaries are in soccer.

    Messi $15 million ? He is going to have to borrow money from Ichiro ($17-18 million), a .260 hitting singles hitter this year.

  34. treasure22 says:

    And all this talk will turn into what? How many will go watch him or buy a uniform, or ask for these games to be picked up on TV? Someone running the club with too much money. I hope he gets paid up front, he does not se it all in the end.

  35. Erik says:

    Good point

  36. Second City says:

    Dude is getting paid nearly double what the best player in the world is making (Messi) at 15 million.

    More power to him, indeed, even if it’s lacks common sense, value is relative.

  37. David says:

    I believe the important question is who does Inter buy to replace him?

  38. MLStoRaleigh! says:

    No pain. NO PAIN!

  39. Edwin in LA says:

    He has won 3 Champions League Trophies and 3 La Ligas along with 1 Serie A.

    1 Spanish Super Cup, 1 Italian Super Cup 1 European Super Cup and 2 FIFA Club World Cups.

    What else can he do at a club? Might as well secure his family’s future for decades to come?

  40. Edwin in LA says:

    Actually 2 Italian Cups as well

  41. Edwin in LA says:

    So we’ll see him in NY in 3 years then? lol

    But will it be with the Red Bulls or the Cosmos the 20th or 21st MLS team?

  42. Edwin in LA says:

    Dude I almost sprayed my computer with water when I read this! lol

  43. Clover362 says:

    29 million might make him the highest paid atlethlet in the world because Arod did not get the 30 mil a year he was looking for, also I think an NBA max contract under the older rules (what Wade was under) I think is 25 mill per season. Obviously some one like Arod, or Wade make way more off the field

  44. tim says:

    lol +1

  45. John says:

    Yeah but Messi’s endorsements round his annual income to like 50 mil. He isn’t hurting.

  46. tim says:


  47. bryan says:

    Might be. Beckham, according to a Forbes report this week, stated he is still the highest earner for soccer. When including all endorsements. $40M per year. Pretty crazy. Eto’o only needs another $10M in endorsements to match Becks now.

  48. bryan says:

    #10: Eto’o $15M (before this move)
    #9: Lampard $17M
    #8: Ibrahimovic $17M
    #7: Rooney (no $ provided)
    #6: Henry $21M
    #5: Ronaldinho $24M
    #4: Kaka $25M
    #3: Messi $32M
    #2: Ronaldo $38M
    #1: Beckham $40M

  49. Dillon says:

    Fernando Alonso, a Formula 1 driver gets 28-30 million Euro a year which is over 40 million dollars. You could say F1 is not a sport but it does take huge amounts of athleticism and skill.

  50. bryan says:

    Ronaldo can’t match his record?! You need to take a look at the stats. He has won FIFA Player of the Year, European Golden Shoe(two leagues, first player to do that), strike rate of 1 goal every 70 minutes, EPL Golden Boot, Pichichi, Ballon d’Or, Champions League winner, best forward of the CL, best player of the CL, top goal scorer for the CL, won three of the four main PFA and FWA trophies, FIFA Puskás Award, goals scored record in La Liga and almost matching the EPL, Club World Cup, etc.

    Eto’o is nasty, but both CR and Messi are better.

  51. Nick says:

    That could feed a lot of starving children in Africa. Wonder if he’ll donate any of that massive salary?

  52. Joamiq says:

    Hilarious! What a world we live in.

  53. pd says:

    With him they have assembled a core that just might qualify for Champions league… that’s where this pays off.

  54. pd says:

    um. world hunger? cancer research? an EPL club? come one.

  55. PD says:

    a change of scenery? switching Milan for the Degoba system or whatever the heck it’s called is like saying “you know I like New York, but I hear Kandahar Province is really hip…”

  56. pd says:


  57. pd says:

    Lampard, huh? that’s a surprise….

  58. pd says:

    riiiight. driving fast. next you’re gonna say golf and bowling are sports….

  59. Northzax says:

    He already built and funds a children’s hospital in Cameroon. So i’d guess he will.

  60. hmmm says:

    How do Formula 1 drivers get paid that much?

    Anyone know?

  61. Bellus Ludas says:

    ABSOLUTELY INSANE…not matter how many shirts you sell, seats, tours, etc….they will never get 30Mil year out of him. This is an owner with more money than…..

  62. suh julius says:

    i think both are reasonable,the team and eto,eto is worth the money and the team needs him,the deal is excellent for me,eto has all the trophies he needed what else and am sure the team will play the champions league next season,watch and see

  63. suh julius says:

    i bet you,if not of racism which cannot be avoided,eto is supposed to have taken the world best player at least ones