Cantona Eric Eric Cantona Cantona Eric Cantona Eric trivia


Personal information
Honours with United

1997 F.A. Premier League
1996 F.A. Cup
1996 F.A. Premier League
1994 F.A. Cup
1994 F.A. Premier League
1993 F.A. Premier League

Eric Cantona was perhaps the most influential footballer in English footballer of the 1990s. A player of true vision and creativity, worthy of that now, much over-used word, "genius". His passing, innovation and influence was unrivalled, he could split a defence with the sort of pass that only he could create. Eric had an exhilarating array of skills, back-heels, stylish flicks, turns and lobs combined with immaculate ball control and touch.

His shooting from long-range was superb while one-on-one with the goalkeeper, he was ice cool and clinical. If opposing defenders lost concentration for a millisecond, it would be enough for Eric Cantona to punish them and set the Reds on the way to another vital victory. Together with a sometimes unpredictable Gallic temperament, Cantona was a one-man footballing phenomenon.

Cantona was a unique character, a one-off, but Manchester United and Eric was a match made in heaven. When Alex Ferguson stunned everyone in English football with the deal of the decade that aquired him from Leeds, few knew the impact Eric would make. Most United fans thought he was no more than a strengthening of the squad, but a few months later it became clear that Eric Cantona was by far the most important player at Old Trafford. From the moment he walked through the door he realised there was at last the platform he was looking for, huge potential, huge support and a working assumption that only the best is good enough. And Eric Cantona knew he was the best. Cantona Eric

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The Catalyst for success

He was the final piece of Alex Ferguson's jigsaw in creating a team to end United's 26 year wait for a league title. Within a short while of his arrival, such was his powerful influence that the whole United team revolved around the mercurial Frenchman. With Eric Cantona and United playing the most attractive football of the 90's they not only ended that 26 year wait and went on to do the League and Cup Double in 1994 and 1996 with another Premier League title in 1997. Eric Cantona

 The French rebel

Cantona had numerous problems with discipline during his career in France, sendings off and tantrums prevented him making a real impact. Born in Paris, he was brought up in Marseille and made his first-team debut for Auxerre, a local club, in 1983. He signed professional forms for Auxerre in June 1986 and made his full International debut in 1987 against West Germany. After 81 league games and 23 goals for Auxerre he signed in 1988 for French champions Marseille for ò.3 million where he won the League and Cup double in 1989. However, after a row when he angrily threw his shirt to the ground he was loaned to out Bordeaux, before signing for Montpellier, with whom he won the French Cup in 1990. He returned to Marseille again, then was sold for ñ million to Nîmes where he became Captain.

His rebellious behaviour forced him to leave after arguments with managers, referees, and team-mates. In August 1988, he insulted the French national team manager on television and was banned from the national side for a year. After he threw the ball at a referee in while playing for Nîmes he was banned for three matches. In the disciplinary hearing that followed an annoyed Cantona went up to three members of the French FA and shouted "Idiot!" in each of their faces. This led to a two month ban and Eric announced his retirement from football in December 1991, it would be only temporary however. Cantona returned in England and made a low-key return briefly at Sheffield Wednesday before joining Leeds United in February 1992 - in time to make ް骠롭ﮠ 15 league appearances and help Leeds win the Championship at Manchester United's expense.

He became an idol of the Leeds fans as they sang the terrace chant "Ohh-Ahh-Cantona". Then suddenly in November 1992 after 13 appearances into the new season, he was sensationally transferred to Manchester United for the comparatively small sum of £1.2 million. It was to be one of the biggest bargains in British football history. Cantona Eric inspired United to their first League title for 26 years in 1993 and the following year another title with the FA Cup - to complete the club's first Double. He also won the recognition of his fellow professional's, winning the PFA Player of the Year award in 1994 and had also risen to become Captain of the French National team. Cantona Eric

 Manchester United's greatest idol

At Leeds, Cantona was an idol, at Manchester United he was a God. Fans worshipped him the like of which Old Trafford had not seen or may ever see. He was hailed as "Eric the King" with the French red, white and blue colours as prevalent at Old Trafford than the normal red, white and black. Even to this day 3 years after his departure fans still sing his name. No United player has ever had such a relationship with his fans. Eric was a player to be proud of and symbol of a resurgent Manchester United in the 1990s. He encapsulated what United fans think of our club: different, better.

Memorable Cantona moments? Well, there are many: A stunning volley against Wimbledon in the FA Cup 5th Round 1994, his pair of penalty kicks that sunk Chelsea in the Cup Final of the same year, a brilliant chip against Sheffield United in the 3rd Round the following year. Then there was his individual effort against QPR in October 1993, scoring two goals against Man City in both derbies of the 93-94 season, his crucial winner at Newcastle in March 1996, his superb strike versus Arsenal that same month, his winning goal in the 1996 FA Cup Final, a delicate lob against Sunderland in December 1996.......the list could go on and on. Eric Cantona

 Super confident

When Eric was playing you always knew that when it mattered, United would win. Cantona would install in the rest of the team an unbeatable confidence. His presence alone was enough. Footballers need self-belief but Eric Cantona had unfathomable reserves of the stuff. His arrogance had upset colleagues in the past, but at United it only inspired them.

&*& Football

Eric really did intimidate opponents and wind-up opposing fans. There was his confident Gallic strut with his chest puffed out, or sometimes he'd stand with hands on hips gesturing like a movie Director. Not forgetting the way his shirt collar was always famously turned up. He was truly fascinating to watch but Cantona was no ordinary footballer. He liked philosophy, poetry, art, drama - this all added to his enigmatic character and reputation. Eric Cantona

 From hell to heaven

In the infamous "Kung-foo kick" Cantona's volatile state of mind led to him attacking an abusive spectator. A court sentence of 120 hours' community service was accompanied by a world-wide ban on Cantona playing football until October 1995. The French FA stripped him of captaincy of the national team and Cantona would never play for his country again. In his absence United lost the League by a point to Blackburn, a title they surely would have won had he not been banned.

Cantona's grace in accepting his punishment largely restored his popularity and he was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for 1996. 1996 was Cantona's greatest year in which as Captain he led United to the Double, almost single-handedly. Scoring a string of vital match winning goals, including the FA Cup-final winner against Liverpool. Cantona also played a vital role in the shaping and teaching of United's young players such as Beckham, Scholes and Giggs.

 The shock retirement

In 1996-97 Cantona had a good season but failure to get to the European Cup Final and the emergence of United's young stars led him to suspect his powers were on the wane. In June 1997 after winning the League title he stunned the footballing world and left United fans gutted by announcing his retirement. Eric did not want to be remembered as an ageing player past his best, he wanted to always be remembered at his magnificent prime, a winner. Cantona instead planned to take up a different stage, amazingly, as a film actor. He did however return for one final game in the famous red shirt, playing in the Munich Memorial game in November 1998.

A year later Eric returned for Alex Ferguson's Testimonial in which he played with a United legends team alongside Bruce, Pallister, Hughes, Robson and Schmeichel. Even after the Treble winning heroics, Cantona's popularity with the United fans was still as strong as it ever was. The acting career path has so far not been a huge success and Cantona has returned to the game representing France in the shape of professional Beach football - and his superb skills are still very evident. In May 2001 Manchester United announced Cantona would return to Old Trafford in an informal role to coach the youth team and younger players. If it is successful, perhaps he may yet have another role to play in the club's history. Eric Cantona


As unexpectedly as he had arrived he was gone. The King had abdicated and his throne was empty. Consequently, Alex Ferguson reshaped his team to play more as a unit and not revolve around Cantona. United never really did replace him, there was no-one like him and no-one would ever be like him. A true great and legend, Eric "The King" Cantona, we will probably never see his like again. Cantona Eric

Cantona trivia

Eric was born in the French capital Paris but grew up in the Mediterranean city of Marseille.

Cantona spent 1984 doing his national service in the French Army

His first ever appearance for the Reds was against Benfica in Lisbon, in a friendly match to mark the 50th birthday of Eusebio.

He did not always wear the number 7 shirt. Eric was 12 in season 1992/1993. In 1994 he was given the 7 upon Bryan Robson's retirement. Beckham took the shirt in 1997.

No sprawling mansion for Eric, he lived in a humble semi-detached house in Alderley Edge whilst playing for United.

His final competitive game came against West Ham on 11th May 1997. His final appearance before retiring was five days later on Friday 16th May. In a testimonial for David Busst against Coventry City at Highfield Road, Eric scored twice in a 2-2 draw.

Eric was the star of many Nike adverts, famously playing against a team of demonic creatures in "Good vs Evil" at a Roman coliseum and playing amateur football on Hackney Marshes.

He was later the ring master of the ñ0 million 'The Secret Tournament' in a caged arena featuring stars like Henry, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Luis Figo.

Cantona is still featuring in Nike ads today, nearly ten years after his retirement he front's their Germany 2006 ad campaign. Cantona

He has starred in many films. His first speaking role was in 'Elizabeth' in 1998 and he went on to star in 'Mookie', 'Les Enfants du Marais' and 'L'Outremangeur' in which he donned a fat suit to play an overweight detective.

He is married to Isobel and has two children. His brother Joel was also a footballer and played for Ujpest Dozsa and Stockport County.

He became captain of the French National Beach Football team and won the beach soccer world championship in Rio de Janeiro

Cantona's personal idols are Maradona, Mickey Rourke, Marlon Brando, Jim Morrison and the French poet Rimbaud.

He has been outspoken in his criticism of the Glazer takeover

Cantona Quote: "When the seagulls... follow the trawler... it's because they think... sardines will be thrown... into the sea".

Cantona Quote: ԗhatever happens, there are always things you could have done better. You score two goals and you usually feel you could have done better.You score two goals and you usually feel you could have scored a third. That's perfectionism. That's what makes you progress in life.ԼBR>
Cantona Quote: "An artist in my eyes, is someone who can lighten up a dark room.
I have never and will never find difference between the pass from Pele to Carlos Alberto in the final of the World Cup in 1970 and the poetry of the young Rimbaud, who stretches cords from steeple to steeple and garlands from window to window. There is in each of these human manifestations an expression of beauty which touches us and gives us a feeling of eternity." Eric Cantona
An excuse to post this Cantona picture. (I love Eric Cantona .) An interview in Australian Four-Four-Two with M. Cantona showed up on my screen this morning where he discusses the World Cup loss to Italy. His conclusion was that this loss had nothing to do with Zinedine Zidane and the infamous headbutt. Instead it was a strategic error on the part of coach Raymond Domenech. Ԇrom the start of the second half, the Italians refused to attack. When you see (Thierry) Henry have to come to get the ball and cross and there is no-one in the penalty area to get on the end - whatӳ the point of having four defenders and two defensive midfielders. Itӳ a serious, very serious tactical mistake. Worse than Zidaneӳ headbutt.ԍ Show of hands from those who disagree. HmmŠAnybody? You in the back? No? Just scratching your shoulder? Okay, then. IӶe always wondered if I was the only one who thought that Raymond got off a little easy on the criticism after the game because of the headbutt. Since 99.999% of the talk after the game was about Zidane, and the headbutt made the French love the team even moreŠWell, perhaps Raymond should thank Zizou for saving his job? What do you think?
And about that headbutt, Eric?
For him, [Zidane] football is the pleasure of playing. It was not logical, he did not calculate. Thatӳ not to say that I am encouraging people to start headbutting.Ԡ Cantona claimed that Zidaneӳ headbutt could not be compared to his own assault on the Palace fan. ԉ jumped on a supporter,Ԡsaid Cantona . ԉtӳ not the same as reacting to someone on the field, itӳ not the same gesture. What I did was more serious.Ԡ CanӴ disagree with that either. For comparison purposes, letӳ take a look once again at Cantona ӳ reference point for the Zidane headbutt, shall we?
Time to track the trawler again, because Eric Cantona has tossed a rather fat fish to the seagulls: a declaration that he intends to become the manager of either Manchester United or England. Since hanging up his boots in 1997, Cantona has played many roles including a slightly wooden actor, a decent photographer and, at present, the manager of France's beach soccer team. Today, however, he told Le Parisien that soon, perhaps after next month's beach soccer World Cup, he will pursue yet another vocation. "I will return to 11-a-side football just to become the best manager in the world - and that's exactly what I'll become," trumpeted the man whom Manchester United fans still call King. "I will do the job as a creator and an artist. I want to give football something new." Asked where he foresaw this dream unfolding, Cantona ruled out his native France, saying, "Ligue 1 is miserable. It should be banned! We don't have the best players in the world but most of all the managers are a pain in the ass Šthey shouldn't be allowed to advocate such a cautious way of playing."

Cantona does not aspire to lead his country, even though he claimed he would do a much better job than either the current incumbent, Raymond Domenech, or the rumored heir, Didier Deschamps. "Obviously I would be the ideal person to manage France," he quipped. "I would be able to put in place a more attractive style. Deschamps would be just a continuation of Domenech. But I don't want the job and I certainly won't be offered it." Cantona said his preferred place of employment would be Old Trafford or Soho Square. "English football flows through my veins and I would love to offer my vision to the English because it is a very beautiful vision."
Think back to the 1980s - Bradford, Heysel, Hillsborough, Thatcher, hooligans, ID cards - and it is easier to understand why the 1990s was the most important decade for football in this country since the Football League was founded in the 1880s. As spectators were treated less like animals and more like human beings, most, though by no means all of them, began to behave better. Businesses invested in the game. The Premier League was created, the Champions League, too, and Sky's TV money changed a local, provincial game into something altogether different. A new audience was attracted to football; crowds grew year after year, from 20,000 per match in the top division to more than 30,000.
Football became more than a game, and there will be no turning back. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is open to question. It happened.
There are half a dozen images that define this decade of change, which help to show why football widened its appeal. First, and most important, is the sight of Paul Gascoigne crying into his England shirt after being booked in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against West Germany. Unaggressive and emotional, a billboard image that helped to start an apparently unstoppable surge in popularity for the national team.
'Poor Gazza - the human side of football' was the unwritten caption, even if poor England made his tears irrelevant by losing on penalties. There followed, in the next eight years, memorable front-page images of poor Gary, poor Gareth, and poor David. Lineker was substituted in his last England appearance in Euro 92, Southgate's miss led to another shoot-out defeat against the Germans in the Euro 96 semi-final, and Beckham was sent off for kicking the Argentine Diego Simeone in the 1998 World Cup, in another game that England would lose on penalties. It took a while for Beckham to win the sympathy vote, but he got there in the end. As did the grey shirts of Bayern Munich, who provided one of the two unforgettable images from club football in the 1990s: their defenders flat out in tears after conceding two goals in the last minute of the 1999 Champions League final, which Manchester United won to become the first, and to date only, English champions of Europe since the arrival of 'new football'. The other abiding image from club football is the violent and truly shocking picture of Eric Cantona leaping over an advertising hoarding to kick Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons at Selhurst Park on 25 January 1995. Cantona had just been sent off, Simmons came down 11 rows to tell him to 'Fuck off back to France, you French motherfucker', or 'French bastard' depending on whose version you accept. Cantona crossed a line no player had crossed before in English football: he attacked a fan. There was a fascination in this Hollywood moment that goes into the dark world of 'the glamour of violence' as a recent book on boxing by Kevin Mitchell was subtitled. Cantona 's kick was unquestionably glamorous: because it was Cantona (dressed all in black), because it was Manchester United, because it had never happened before, because it was so shocking.
Was there sympathy for Cantona ? Never, judging by the media coverage of what Trevor Brooking, among others, described as 'the most horrendous incident involving a player I have ever witnessed at an English football ground'. " What about analysing the responsibility of Simmons and every foul-mouthed yob who thinks his ?10 admission gives him the right to say what he likes to a man..." The most commonly used adjective in the coverage of Cantona 's assault, and the subsequent court case and nine-month ban from football imposed on the Frenchman, was 'shameful'. As the 10th anniversary of 'kung-fu Cantona ' draws near, it is tempting to look back and ask: shameful for whom? To Cantona and his club, certainly. He deserved his lengthy ban. But apart from three or four articles, and most notably a column by Jimmy Greaves in the Sun, nobody in the national press asked the most important question of all: why? Why had it happened? The who, what, where and when of the Selhurst Park incident were detailed in many thousands of words and the widespread conclusion was that Cantona should be banned for life from 'the game that's dying of shame'. But why, apart from the obvious loss of self-control, did Cantona do something quite so outrageous?
'We've heard a lot about Cantona 's responsibilities,' Greaves wrote. 'What about analysing the responsibility of Simmons and every foul-mouthed yob who thinks his ?10 admission gives him the right to say what he likes to a man... to abuse, taunt, spit and behave in a way that would get you locked up if you repeated it in the high street.' Tom Carty, who was at the match, is one of the senior figures in the British advertising industry and has worked with Cantona , whom he describes as 'a warm, kind, genuine, creative man, a thinker', on film shoots. He believes some good came of the kick.
'It made people think twice about how they behave, about abusing a player,' he says. 'The behaviour of some fans was so bad, so tribalistic. There was so much hate. If Simmons had stayed in his seat, no one would ever have questioned his behaviour, but it needed questioning.
'Just imagine if a black player had done that in the 1970s - someone like Clyde Best when they were chucking bananas at him. There would have been a riot. But it would have changed the way people behaved, some good would have come of it. Maybe that's what happened with Cantona .' There are those, particularly in south London, who believe Cantona got off lightly, that the Manchester United PR machine made racism an issue when it was not. John Barnes was never part of the Old Trafford spin machine. Here's his view in 2004: 'It's very ironic that it took a white Frenchman to bring home to the nation the issue of racism in football.'

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