Eto'o: Money not my sole motivation
Samuel Eto'o insists he moved to Anzhi Makhachkala from Inter Milan because "the future of football is in Russia", denying that the massive salary on offer was his main motivation.
Cameroon striker Eto'o swapped Italy for Dagestan in August after two successful seasons at the San Siro, during which time he won the Champions League, Serie A title, Coppa Italia and World Club Cup.
The transfer raised plenty of eyebrows as it appeared Eto'o had been lured to southern Russia by the promise of exorbitant wages from Anzhi, who are bankrolled by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov.
But despite reportedly taking home around £330,000 a week, the former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward claims that it was the opportunity to be part of a new project that made him decide to move to the Russian Premier League, with Kerimov's talk of building a dynasty convincing him that a switch was worthwhile.
"The truth is the future of football is in Russia," Eto'o told CN. "Furthermore, I believe that leading up to the World Cup here in 2018, the quality of the league will be better.
"He [Kerimov] told me he wanted to build a big team and he thought about me as someone who could lead that project. It touched me because I had only seen myself as a professional player, not a project leader, and this new challenge was important to me.
"I was offered a great deal and we reached an arrangement quite quickly. I have to tell you that practically every day I get a message or a phone call from a high-profile player who wonders whether there are opportunities to come here. I am happy that more players are thinking about coming.
"Many of them are important players and they have been linked with clubs here. That is a big victory for Anzhi and the club is giving an opportunity for Russian football to attract stars."
Responding to criticism about his salary, Eto'o said: "I don't care what people think. I think all of us want to work and get paid what we are worth. No one wants to work for little money, otherwise they would be living on the streets.
"Anzhi made an offer, which was at the same level as my talent, and they are paying me what they think I am worth. To be honest a year ago I had no idea I would be here - the opportunity hadn't arisen - but when the offer came in, I thought about it and realised that it was the best one for myself, my career and my family so I went for it."