Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o

Having achieved so much since he burst on to the scene, Samuel Eto'o endured his most difficult 12 months in 2008. But ultimately he overcame all his problems to show just how great a striker he is, writes Ibrahim Sannie.

The year started promisingly for the Spain-based forward, as he became the Africa Cup of Nations all-time record goal scorer, extending his overall tally to 16.

He scored five goals at Ghana 2008 and finished as the tournament's top scorer to lead the Indomitable Lions to second place.

But his great start to the year soon came to an end as his club Barcelona slumped to finish third in the Spanish league, coupled with semi-final exits in both the Champions League and the Spanish Cup.

That led to the sacking of coach Frank Rijkaard and his replacement by Pep Guardiola - who immediately indicated that Eto'o could follow Ronaldinho out of the club.

Far from being snapped up by a big name club however, the star was submitted to bizarre transfer speculation linking him with a move to Uzbekistan.

Instead he stayed to fight for his place and transformed his own fortunes and those of Barca.

First he helped the Indomitable Lions secure a place in the final phase of the World Cup qualifying with no fewer than five goals for his country.

He then took that renewed confidence back to Barcelona.

Returning to the Barcelona starting line up, he recorded the fastest hat-trick in the club's history, scoring 3 goals within 23 minutes during their 5-0 thrashing of Almeira.

Two weeks later the Cameroonian scored four times in a record 6-0 victory over Real Valladolid.

In 2008 Eto'o faced tough times - but he came through them to show his class once more.