"I lived and breathed football – but my parents were very hard on me," the 39-year-old said.
"They did not accept the fact that I played football because to them football was something children played if they didn't go to school.
"I was obviously going to school and I was not a bad student, but I had a passion, which was football. I vividly remember one day I played a game in my city and I had to hide in order to go play. What I didn't know is that my dad was with some friends in the bar in front of the field.
"Everything I did that day in that game gave me my "pass" to play football freely. Because my parents did not know [until that moment] that I seemed to have a natural talent for the game.
"I was the hero of my neighbourhood after that game. That day, when I returned home, my father arrived a little later and said: "You are so good, I saw your match today. I'm going to talk to your mother so you can keep playing."
"That is how he gave me a pass to keep playing. I was about 12 or 13 years old. From that moment on there was no looking back.
"I had the blessing of my father and you could not keep me off that football pitch. Day or night. From there, it was one or two years before I went to Europe, and my life changed forever."
Eto'o began his career at Real Madrid, playing just three league games, and in a 22-year career played for a host of top clubs including Mallorca, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Everton. He won three Champions League medals and league titles in both Spain and Italy.
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