Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jonathan Wilson: Samuel Eto'o takes step into the unknown with Anzhi Makhachkala

"Samuel Eto'o completed his £20m move to Anzhi Makhachkala on Wednesday." It's a sentence that feels odd, even in the inflated, globalised world of modern football. Eto'o, still one of the best forwards in the world, going to Dagestan, somewhere most western Europeans have heard of, if they've heard of it at all, only for what a Moscow official euphemistically termed "low-level Islamic insurgency".

Previously, Russia has provided a home for up-and-coming players from South America and Africa, the fabled stepping-stone into the big leagues of western Europe, and for those on the way down. Occasionally, as when Maniche and Costinha joined the Portuguese influx at Dynamo Moscow, it seems Russian football is about to join the mainstream. The Portuguese experiment at Dynamo didn't work, though, and the recognised players in their late 20s left and life went on much as before.

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