Emmanuel Adebayor left Crystal Palace during the summer after a six-month stay at the club. In 12 appearances, he managed just one goal.
The nearly 33-year-old has been without since leaving Selhurst Park. A lack of game time has not prevented Adebayor from making an impression with Togo at the African Cup of Nations this month. In Togo's open game of the tournament, a 0-0 draw with favourites Ivory Coast on Monday, the striker put in a performance described by his manager as 'unbelievable'.
An inkling into his form comes from an interview with the Guardian. Adebayor has been keeping fit playing with friends and old teammates back in Togo. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, players congregate on a pitch which Adebayor has renovated near his home.
Friends, old team-mates from the national team, would call me and say: ‘Can we have a game with you guys tomorrow?’ I’d say: ‘OK, sure, come.’ They would come, we’d play and then afterwards we’d go into my house, drink some soft drinks and talk about the old days – about the Cup of Nations, the 2006 World Cup, things we had experienced together.
People would say to me: ‘I can’t believe you are playing here, you’re too big for here,’ and I would ask them why. I’ll never be too big for anything. I was born in a house without a light or a toilet, so why would I forget who I am or where I come from? It is where I started – why should I be sad about playing there?
A move to Lyon which was mooted in September - the one where he was rumoured to have smoked and asked for whiskey during a meeting with the French side's manager - ultimately did not happen because he would not agree to a clause preventing him from playing in the African Cup of Nations.
That he has been out of football for the past half year does not frustrate Adebayor. His experience of the Togo team bus shooting in 2010 gives him an appreciation for what he has.
Of course I’m watching the Premier League and I’ll think: ‘Wow, I could have scored that goal,’ ‘Oh, I could have missed that’ or ‘Wow, I’ve missed this atmosphere’. That’s normal, it’s where I’ve been for nine or 10 years and you miss it. But look, I was there in Cabinda in 2010 so I could be in a wheelchair today, or dead and forgotten. How can I complain about not playing football for six months?
Adebayor doesn't understand why he has such a bad reputation in England. At the extreme, he's viewed as a money-grabbing mercenary.
The view offered by the Guardian interview gives a different perspective on the player, a side of him unknown to most.