Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o reportedly is set to join Russian soccer club Anzhi Makhachkala in a deal that would make Eto'o the highest-paid player in the history of soccer. The Cameroonian star is expected to sign a three-year deal this week with an annual salary of 20 million Euros or $28.8 million at current exchange rates. The current highest-paid player in the game is Cristiano Ronaldo who earns an estimated 13 million Euros ($19 million).
It represents a huge pay raise for Eto'o, 30, who made 8 million Euros last season for Inter Milan. He ranked 10th in our April look at the highest-paid soccer players in the world which included both salaries and endorsement income.
Eto'o counts Puma and Ford as sponsors, but pulls in just a fraction of what top players like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi do from endorsements. Eto'o has been chosen African Football Player of the Year four times and is captain of the Cameroon national team.
Anzhi is owned by Russian investor Suleiman Kerimov, who is the 118th richest person in the world with a net worth of $7.8 billion. Kerimov was forced to overpay for Eto'o to attract him to the developing Russian league where he will play in a 16,000 person stadium badly in need of an upgrade. It is a long way from the bright lights of Milan and Barcelona, but $86 million tax-free over the next three years should provide Eto'o plenty of solace as he leaves the elite European competition.