Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona is a former French international football player who used to feature prominently during the 1980s and 1990s. He played as a striker and is considered a French and world football legend. He is held as an icon at Manchester United and was named by Pele in March 2004 as one of the 125 greatest living footballers. He is the current manager of the France beach soccer team.
Eric Cantona commenced his club footballing career at French side Auxerre in 1983 but had to spend the whole of 1984 on national service. He signed a professional contract with Auzeree in 1986 and was signed by Marseille in 1988. He initally struggled to settle at Marseille and went on loan to French club Bordeaux in 1989 and then to Montpellier for 1989-1990. He was recalled to Marseille but again couldn’t quite manage to settle there. After a stint with Nimes, Cantona was sold to English side Leeds United in 1992 to kickstart his career. His years in France wee littered with disciplinary problems.Eric Cantona won the old first division championship with Leeds United in the 1991-1992 season but left the club before the end of the 1992-1993 season. He moved to Manchester United in November 1992 for 1.2 million pounds.
Eric Cantona became a cult hero and icon at Old Trafford and went onto spend the rest of his playing career for Manchester United. He made his competitive debut for United against Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 6,1992 at Old Trafford. Cantona wrung a revolutionary change in English football as his grace, idiocyncracy, fashion, style and flambuoyant character lit the newly formed Premier League.
Eric Cantona went onto feature in 144 Premier League matches, scoring 64 goals. He played for Manchester United between 1992 and 1997. He won the Premier League title four times with Man United and the FA Cup twice.
In England too, Cantona was not free of controversy. He is (best) remembered for an infamous incident that occurred on January 25,1995. Against Crystal Palace away from home, Cantona was sent off by the referee for a violent kick on Palace defender Richard Shaw after the latter had pulled his shirt. As he was being escorted out of the pitch, he launched a “kung-fu style free-kick into the crowd, aimed at Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons, followed by a series of punches. Cantona had to face severe punishment because of that incident.
Eric Cantona made his international debut for France against West Germany in August 1987 and went onto feature in 45 international matches for his nation, scoring 20 goals.