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Eric Cantona

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Title: Eric Cantona  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1995–96 in English football, Premier League 10 Seasons Awards, 1992–93 Leeds United A.F.C. season, 1993–94 in English football, 1991–92 in English football
Collection: 1966 Births, 20Th-Century French Male Actors, 21St-Century French Male Actors, Aj Auxerre Players, Association Football Forwards, English Football Hall of Fame Inductees, Expatriate Footballers in England, Fc Girondins De Bordeaux Players, Fc Martigues Players, Fifa 100, France International Footballers, France Under-21 International Footballers, French Beach Soccer Players, French Emigrants to the United Kingdom, French Expatriate Footballers, French Expatriates in England, French Expatriates in the United States, French Footballers, French Male Film Actors, French Male Stage Actors, French Male Television Actors, French People of Catalan Descent, French People of Italian Descent, French People of Sardinian Descent, French People of Spanish Descent, Leeds United F.C. Players, Ligue 1 Players, Ligue 2 Players, Living People, Male Actors of Italian Descent, Manchester United F.C. Players, Montpellier Hsc Players, Nîmes Olympique Players, Olympique De Marseille Players, People Convicted of Assault, Premier League Players, Sportspeople from Marseille, The Football League Players, Uefa Euro 1992 Players
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona

Cantona at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
Personal information
Full name Éric Daniel Pierre Cantona
Date of birth (1966-05-24) 24 May 1966
Place of birth Marseille, France
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1980–1981 SO Les Caillols
1981–1983 Auxerre
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1988 Auxerre 82 (23)
1985–1986 Martigues (loan) 15 (4)
1988–1991 Marseille 40 (13)
1989 Bordeaux (loan) 11 (6)
1989–1990 Montpellier (loan) 33 (10)
1991 Nîmes 17 (2)
1992 Leeds United 28 (9)
1992–1997 Manchester United 143 (64)
Total 369 (131)
National team
1987–1995 France 45 (20)
2005 France (beach) 1 (1)
Teams managed
2005–2011 France (beach)
2010–2012 New York Cosmos (Director of Soccer)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Éric Daniel Pierre Cantona (French pronunciation: ​; born 24 May 1966) is a French actor and former international footballer for the French national team. He played for Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nîmes and Leeds United before ending his career at Manchester United where he won four Premier League titles in five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles. Cantona won the old first division with Leeds in 1992 meaning that he won the title every season he completed in England. Blackburn Rovers won in 1995 when he was banned and he missed the end of the season.

Cantona is often regarded as having played a key role in the revival of Manchester United as a footballing force in the 1990s and he enjoys iconic status at the club. He wore the number 7 shirt at Manchester United. Cantona is affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United fans as "King Eric", and was voted as Manchester United's greatest ever player by Inside United magazine.[1] Set against his footballing achievements was a poor disciplinary record for much of his career, including a conviction for assault on a fan in 1995, although his disciplinary record was much improved after he returned from his eight-month suspension right up to his retirement as a player two years later.

Following his retirement from football in 1997, he took up a career in cinema and had a role in the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, the 2008 film French Film, and the 2009 film Looking for Eric. In 2010, he débuted as a stage actor in Face au Paradis, a French play directed by his wife, Rachida Brakni.[2]

On 19 January 2011, Cantona joined the revived New York Cosmos as Director of Soccer.[3]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • France 2.2
    • England 2.3
      • Leeds United 2.3.1
      • Manchester United 2.3.2
        • 1992–93 season
        • 1993–94 season
        • 1994–95 season – Ban from football
        • 1995–96 season
        • 1996–97 season
        • After leaving
    • French national team 2.4
    • Mass media 2.5
    • Beach football 2.6
    • Return to football in 2011 2.7
  • Political views 3
  • Family 4
  • Career statistics 5
    • Club 5.1
    • International 5.2
    • International goals 5.3
    • Beach football goals 5.4
  • Honours 6
    • Club 6.1
    • National team 6.2
    • Individual 6.3
  • Partial filmography 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Although it has been suggested that he was born in Paris,[4] Cantona was actually born in Marseille, to Albert Cantona, a nurse and a painter, and Éléonore Raurich, a dressmaker.[5][6][7] The family home was a cave in one of the hills in the Les Caillols area of Marseille, between the city's 11th and 12th arrondissements, and it was rumoured to have been used as a look-out post for the German Army, towards the end of the Second World War. The site was chosen in the mid-1950s by Cantona's paternal grandmother, Lucienne, whose husband, Joseph, was a stonemason. By the time Cantona was born in 1966, the hillside cave had become little more than a room in the family's house, which was now up to a liveable standard. Cantona has two brothers, Jean-Marie, who is four years older; and Joël, who is 17 months younger.

Cantona came from a family of immigrants: his paternal grandfather, Joseph, had immigrated to Marseille from Sardinia, while his mother's parents had been Catalan separatists. Pere Raurich, Cantona's maternal grandfather, was fighting the armies of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War in 1938 when he suffered a serious injury to his liver, and he had to retreat to France for medical treatment with his wife Paquita.[8] The Raurichs stayed in Saint-Priest, Ardèche, before settling in Marseille.[8]


Early career

Cantona began his football career with SO Caillolais, his local team and one that had produced such talent as Roger Jouve and had players such as Jean Tigana and Christophe Galtier within its ranks. Originally, Cantona began to follow in his father's footsteps and often played as a goalkeeper, but his creative instincts began to take over and he would play up front more and more often. In his time with SO Caillolais, Cantona played in more than 200 matches.


Cantona's first professional club was Auxerre, where he spent two years in the youth team before making his début on 5 November 1983, in a 4–0 league victory over Nancy.[9]

In 1984 his footballing career was put on hold as he carried out his national service. After his discharge he was loaned out to Martigues[9] in the French Second Division before rejoining Auxerre and signing a professional contract in 1986. His performances in the First Division were good enough to earn him his first full international cap when barely in his twenties. However, his disciplinary problems began in 1987 when he was fined for punching team mate Bruno Martini in the face.[9]

The following year, Cantona was again in trouble because of a dangerous tackle on Nantes player Michel Der Zakarian, resulting in a three-month suspension,[9] this was later reduced to a two-month suspension as his club Auxerre threatened to make the player unavailable for selection in the national team. He was part of the French under-21 side that won the 1988 U21 European Championship, scoring a hat-trick in a quarter-final against the England under-21 side in the process,[10] and shortly after he transferred to Marseille for a French record fee (FF22m). Cantona had grown up as a Marseille fan.

In January 1989 during a friendly game against Torpedo Moscow he kicked the ball at the crowd, then ripped off and threw away his shirt after being substituted. His club responded by banning him for a month. Just a few months earlier, he had been banned from international matches for one year after insulting the national coach Henri Michel on TV.[11]

Having struggled to settle at Marseille, Cantona moved to Bordeaux on a six-month loan and then to Montpellier on a year-long loan. At Montpellier, he was involved in a fight with team-mate Jean-Claude Lemoult and threw his boots in Lemoult's face. The incident led to six players demanding that Cantona be sacked. However, with the support of team-mates such as Laurent Blanc and Carlos Valderrama, the club retained his services, although they banned him from the ground for ten days.[12] Cantona was instrumental as the team went on to win the French Cup and his form persuaded Marseille to take him back.

Back at Marseille, Cantona initially played well under coach Gerard Gili and his successor Franz Beckenbauer. However, the Marseille chairman Bernard Tapie was not satisfied with the results, and replaced Beckenbauer with Raymond Goethals; Cantona was continually at odds with Goethals and Tapie and, despite helping the team win the French Division 1 title, he was transferred to Nîmes the following season.

In December 1991, during a match for Nîmes he threw the ball at the referee, having been angered by one of his decisions. He was summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the French Football Federation and was banned for one month. Cantona responded by walking up to each member of the hearing committee in turn and calling him an idiot. His ban was increased to two months, and Cantona subsequently announced his retirement from football on 16 December 1991.[13]

The French national team coach Michel Platini was a fan of Cantona, and persuaded him to make a comeback. On the advice of Gérard Houllier as well as his psychoanalyst, he moved to England to restart his career, "He [my psychoanalyst] advised me not to sign for Marseille and recommended that I should go to England."[14]


Before going to Leeds United, Cantona was brought to England and was given a trial at Sheffield Wednesday. The Sheffield Wednesday manager Trevor Francis, however decided not to sign Cantona.

Leeds United

On 6 November 1991, after Liverpool's 3–0 victory over Auxerre in a UEFA Cup Second Round second leg tie at Anfield, Liverpool manager Graeme Souness was met by Frenchman Michel Platini at the end of the game, who told him that Cantona was available for sale to Liverpool. Souness thanked Platini, but declined the offer, citing dressing room harmony as his reason. He also had a strong selection of forwards available to him at the time, including Ian Rush, John Barnes, Dean Saunders and Ronny Rosenthal, and would be joined by Paul Stewart and Nigel Clough in the following years.

He joined Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, where he was part of the team that won the final Football League First Division championship before it was replaced by the Premier League as the top division in English football. His transfer from Nîmes cost Leeds £900,000.[15]

Cantona made 15 appearances for Leeds in their championship-winning season and despite only scoring three goals he was instrumental in their title success, primarily with assists for leading goalscorer Lee Chapman. He scored a hat-trick in the Charity Shield 4–3 win over Liverpool in August 1992, and followed that with another in a 5–0 league win over Tottenham Hotspur - the first ever in the newly branded Premier League.[16] His hat-trick in the Charity Shield places him among the small elite group of players to have scored three or more goals in games at Wembley Stadium.

Cantona left Leeds for Manchester United for £1.2 million on 26 November 1992. Leeds chairman Bill Fotherby had telephoned Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards to enquire about the availability of Denis Irwin. Edwards was in a meeting with United manager Alex Ferguson at the time, and both men agreed that Irwin was not for sale. Ferguson had identified that his team was in need of a striker, having recently made unsuccessful bids for David Hirst, Matt Le Tissier and Brian Deane, and instructed his chairman to ask Wilkinson whether Cantona was for sale. Fotherby had to consult with the manager Howard Wilkinson, but within a few days the deal was complete.[17]

Manchester United

1992–93 season

Cantona made his first appearance for Manchester United in a friendly match against Benfica in Lisbon to mark Eusébio's 50th birthday, wearing the number 10 shirt. He made his competitive début as a second-half substitute against Manchester City at Old Trafford on 6 December 1992, wearing the number 12 shirt. United won 2–1, though Cantona made little impact that day. He had arrived too late to register to play in United's 1–0 win at Arsenal on 28 November, but was in the crowd at Highbury as his new team secured a vital win.

United's season had been disappointing up to Cantona's signing. They were falling behind the likes of big spending Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers in the race for the first Premier League title, as well as surprise challengers including Norwich City and Queen's Park Rangers. Goalscoring had been a problem since the halfway point of the previous season – when it had cost them the league title as they suffered defeats or were held to draws at the hands of teams they had been expected to beat.

Brian McClair and Mark Hughes were off form, and summer signing Dion Dublin had broken his leg early in the season, ruling him out of action for six months. However, Cantona quickly settled into the team, not only scoring goals but also creating chances for the other players. His first United goal came in a 1–1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 19 December 1992, and his second came on Boxing Day in a 3–3 draw against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough where they claimed a point after being 3–0 down at half time. However, controversy was never far away, and on his return to Elland Road to play Leeds a few weeks later, he spat at a fan and was fined £1,000 by the FA.[11][18]

In Cantona's first season at Old Trafford, United won the inaugural Premier League by 10 points – winning the title for the first time since 1967. In doing so, he became the first player to win back-to-back English top division titles with different clubs. He had actually won a domestic league title with different clubs for three successive seasons, having helped Marseille win the French league title in 1991.

1993–94 season

Manchester United retained the Premier League, and Cantona's two penalties helped them to a 4–0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. He also collected a runners-up medal in the Football League Cup, which United lost 3–1 to Aston Villa. He was also voted PFA Player of the Year for that season. However, the season was not without its moments of controversy; Cantona was sent off as Manchester United exited the Champions League against Galatasaray, and he was also dismissed in successive Premier League games, firstly against Swindon Town and then against Arsenal. The two successive red cards saw Cantona banned for five matches, including a FA Cup semi-final clash with Oldham Athletic, which United drew 1–1. Cantona was available for the replay and helped them win 4–1.[9]

1993–94 was the first season of squad numbers in the Premier League. Cantona was issued with the number 7 shirt, a squad number he kept for the rest of his career at United.[19] However, squad numbers were not set for the UEFA Champions League matches and Cantona wore the number 9 shirt in the four fixtures home and away against Kispest Honved and Galatasaray.

On 19 December 1993, he put in one of his finest performances for United, scoring two against Aston Villa in a 3–1 victory that put United 13 points clear at the top of the league.[20]

1994–95 season – Ban from football

In the following season United looked to win a third successive league title, and for the first half of the season things went smoothly enough. The season began with a 2–0 Wembley win over Blackburn Rovers in the Charity Shield, in which Cantona scored a penalty.[21] Cantona frequently scored for United, who put intense pressure a Blackburn Rovers side that led the table for much of the season, particularly with a 4–2 win at Ewood Park in late October, in which Cantona was on the scoresheet. He was also on the scoresheet the following month in a memorable 5–0 derby win over Manchester City, and on 22 January he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 home win over Blackburn that made the title race even tighter and brought Cantona's tally of league goals for that season to 12. He had also scored a further goal in an FA Cup third round win at Sheffield United.[22]

However, on 25 January 1995 he was involved in an incident that attracted headlines and controversy worldwide. In an away match against Crystal Palace, Cantona was sent off by the referee for a kick on Palace defender Richard Shaw after Shaw had pulled his shirt. As he was walking towards the tunnel, Cantona launched a 'kung-fu' style kick into the crowd, directed at Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, a fan who had run down 11 rows of stairs to confront and shout abuse at Cantona. Simmons was alleged to have used the words "Fuck off back to France, you French motherfucker". Cantona followed the infamous kick with a series of punches.[23][24][25]

Cantona was arrested and convicted for assault, resulting in a two-week prison sentence.[26] This was overturned in the appeal court and instead he was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, which was spent coaching children at United's training ground.[27] At a press conference called later, Cantona gave what is perhaps his most famous quotation. Cantona said, in a slow and deliberate manner: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much".[14][28] He then got up from his seat and left.

In accordance with The Football Association's wishes, Manchester United fined Cantona £20,000 and suspended him for the remaining four months of the 1994–95 season,[29][30] which ruled him out of first-team action as United were still in the hunt for a second double.

The Football Association then increased the ban to eight months (up to and including 30 September 1995) and fined him a further £10,000.[31] The FA Chief Executive Graham Kelly described his attack as "a stain on our game" that brought shame on football. FIFA then confirmed the suspension as worldwide, meaning that Cantona could not escape the ban by transferring to a foreign club.[32] Manchester United also fined Cantona two weeks' wages and he was stripped of the French captaincy. He would never be selected for France again.[33] His club eventually lost the Premier League title to Blackburn Rovers.

There had been media speculation that Cantona would leave English football when his ban finished, but Alex Ferguson persuaded him to stay in Manchester, despite interest from Italian club Inter Milan[34] (who had managed to lure his team mate Paul Ince to Italy that year).

Even after signing his new contract, Cantona was frustrated by the terms of his ban, and on 8 August, he handed in a request for his contract to be terminated, as he no longer wanted to play football in England. This came after United had been censured by the FA for fielding Cantona in a match against another club at the club's training ground, which was defined as a friendly match despite the club organising the match as being within the context of training - as his suspension allowed him to play in this type of match only. The request was turned down and two days later, following a meeting in Paris with Alex Ferguson, he declared that he would remain at the club.

In 2011, Cantona admitted that the infamous attack on the Crystal Palace supporter was "a great feeling" and a memory he is happy for fans to treasure, but "... it was a mistake".[35]

1995–96 season

In his comeback game against Liverpool on 1 October 1995, Cantona set up a goal for Nicky Butt two minutes into the game, and then scored a penalty after Ryan Giggs was fouled to secure a point for United in a 2–2 home draw against their great rivals. However, eight months without competitive football had taken its toll and Cantona struggled for form prior to Christmas – by 24 December, the gap between Manchester United and league leaders Newcastle United had increased to 10 points.

A goal by Cantona in United's league clash with West Ham United at Upton Park triggered a 10-match winning run in the league. Over the second half of the season, several more United games ended in 1–0 wins with Cantona scoring the only goal, though it was actually a draw (in which Cantona equalised) with Queen's Park Rangers on 9 March which saw United overtake Newcastle on goal difference for the first time. They stayed there for the rest of the season, and on the final day of the season United beat Middlesbrough 3–0 at the Riverside Stadium to win their third title in four seasons.

Manchester United also reached the 1996 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, and with regular captain Steve Bruce missing through injury, Cantona was named as captain. He then scored the only goal of the game in the 86th minute and became the first player from outside the British Isles to lift the FA Cup as captain; Manchester United became the first team to win "the double" twice.

1996–97 season

Cantona was confirmed as United's captain for the 1996–97 season following the departure of Steve Bruce to Birmingham City.

United retained the league in the 1996–97 season; Cantona had won four league titles in five years with United (six in seven years including those won with Marseille and Leeds United), the exception being the 1994–95 season which he had missed the second half of through suspension.

At the end of the season he announced that he was retiring from football at the age of 30.[36] His final competitive game came against West Ham on 11 May 1997, and his final appearance before retiring was five days later on 16 May in a testimonial for David Busst (the player whose career had been ended by an injury suffered against United the previous year) against Coventry City at Highfield Road.

Cantona scored a total of 64 league goals for Manchester United, 11 in domestic cup competitions, and 5 in the Champions League, bringing his tally to 80 goals in less than five years.

After leaving

In 1998, the Football League, as part of its centenary season celebrations, included Cantona on its list of 100 League Legends. Cantona's achievements in the English League were further marked in 2002 when he was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame.

In his 1999 autobiography Managing My Life, Alex Ferguson claimed that Cantona had informed him of his decision to retire from playing within 24 hours of United's Champions League semi-final defeat to Borussia Dortmund, though the decision was not made public for almost a month afterwards. During that time, there had been speculation about his future at United, including talk of a move to Real Zaragoza of Spain.

Returning to Britain in 2003 to pick up the Overseas Player of the Decade Award at the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards, Cantona said of his premature retirement, "When you quit football it is not easy, your life becomes difficult. I should know because sometimes I feel I quit too young. I loved the game but I no longer had the passion to go to bed early, not to go out with my friends, not to drink, and not to do a lot of other things, ­the things I like in life."[37]

In 2004, Cantona was quoted as saying, "I'm so proud the fans still sing my name, but I fear tomorrow they will stop. I fear it because I love it. And everything you love, you fear you will lose."[38]

He was interviewed in the Number 7's issue of United Magazine in August 2006 stating he will only come back to Manchester United as 'Number 1' (meaning not return as assistant manager or coach) and would create a team like no other and play the way he thinks football should be played.

Cantona opposed the Glazer takeover of Manchester United, and has stated that he will not return to the club, even as a manager, while the Glazer family is in charge. This came as a disappointment to the many United fans who voted him as their choice for United's next manager in a survey over the summer of 2000. At this stage, it had been expected that manager Sir Alex Ferguson would retire in 2002, but the manager later had a change of heart and would go on to manage until his retirement in 2013.[39]

In July 2008, it was reported by the Sunday Express that Cantona had been having second thoughts, with a " close friend " of Cantona's allegedly revealing: "Eric does fancy the idea of helping out with the coaching at a club like Manchester United... He has been enjoying himself appearing in and directing films and being involved in beach soccer but has always wanted to help produce a team in his style and knows that Sir Alex Ferguson would encourage him".[40]

In March 2014 Cantona was arrested and cautioned for common assault.[41]

French national team

Cantona was given his full international début against West Germany in August 1987 by national team manager Henri Michel. In September 1988, angered after being dropped from the national team, Cantona referred to Michel as a "bag of shit" in a post-match TV interview and was indefinitely banned from all international matches.[42] However, Michel was sacked shortly after that having failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup.

The new coach was Michel Platini and one of his first acts was to recall Cantona. Platini stated that whilst he was coach, Cantona would be selected for France as long as he was playing competitive top-class football; it was Platini who had initiated Cantona's move to England to restart his career. France qualified for Euro 1992 held in Sweden, but failed to win a single game despite the striking partnership of Cantona and Jean-Pierre Papin. Platini resigned after the finals to be replaced by Gérard Houllier.

Under Houllier, France failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. after losing the final game 2–1 at home to Bulgaria when a draw would have sufficed. Houllier resigned and Aimé Jacquet took over.

Jacquet began to rebuild the national team in preparation for Euro 96 and appointed Cantona as captain. Cantona remained captain until the Selhurst Park incident in January 1995. The suspension which resulted from this incident also prevented him from playing in international matches.

By the time Cantona's suspension had been completed, he had lost his role as the team's playmaker to Zinédine Zidane, as Jacquet had revamped the squad with some new players. Cantona, Papin and David Ginola lost their places in the squad and were never selected for the French team again, thus missing Euro 96. Though there was media criticism about Cantona's omission, as he was playing his best football in the Premier League, Jacquet stated that the team had done well without Cantona, and that he wanted to keep faith with the players who had taken them so far.[43] The decision was vindicated as Les Bleus subsequently won the World Cup in 1998.

To this day, Cantona still harbours resentment for the people at the head of his national team but also admiration for his adopted football country; at Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he supported England and not France.[44]

Mass media

In 1992, Cantona endorsed two video games, Eric Cantona Football Challenge and Eric Cantona Football Challenge: Goal! 2.

He focused his later career mostly as an actor in French cinema, having had his first role as a rugby player in Le bonheur est dans le pré, shot during his 1995 suspension from football. In the late 1990s, he accepted a role as a French ambassador in the English film Elizabeth (1998). In 2002 he directed a short film, Apporte-moi ton amour. He guest-starred as a mysterious barroom philosopher in independent British film Jack Says, released to DVD in September 2008. He co-starred as director Thierry Grimandi in French Film (2009), and is co-producer and a lead actor in Ken Loach's Palme D'or nominated film Looking for Eric (2009). He also stars as The Corsican in the Danish western The Salvation, which premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival on the 17th May 2014.[45]

Since his retirement from professional football, Cantona has appeared in numerous European television advertisements, especially for sportswear company Nike.[46] Cantona made cameos in two commercials, one starred the Brazil national team playing football in an airport, and the other involved the national teams of Brazil and Portugal, respectively.

In a worldwide advertising campaign during the run-up to the

External links

  1. ^ Ganguly, Aubrey (March 2001). Ganguly, Aubrey. ed. "Eric and us". United (Manchester: Future Publishing) (100): 42–48
  2. ^ "Eric Cantona and Rachida Brakni are toast of Paris as ex-footballer makes stage début". The Guardian. 10 January 2010.
  3. ^ "King Eric Takes the Throne at the New York Cosmos. New York Cosmos. 19 January 2011.
  4. ^ Worrall 2008, p. 103
  5. ^ Coman, Julian (25 March 2012). "The king and I: meeting Eric Cantona". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Williams, Richard (17 April 1994). "The other side of Cantona: Eric Cantona has become the most exciting footballer in England. The fact that he is French, loves poetry and philosophy, and has a volatile temperament makes him the most intriguing. Last week he was voted players' player of the year – while under suspension". The Independent (Independent Print). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Henderson, Paul (5 July 2011). "When GQ met Eric Cantona". GQ. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Auclair, Philippe (2009). Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King. Macmillan Publishers. p. 13.  
  9. ^ a b c d e "The lifes and times of Eric Cantona". The Independent. 27 January 1995.
  10. ^ "French In Front". New Straits Times. 15 April 1988. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Cantona returns to Old Trafford". The Daily Telegraph. 30 May 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Cantona subsequently played a role in Blanc's arrival at Manchester United in 2001 having boasted about the talent Blanc possessed. "Cantona returns", 2001.
  13. ^ "Cantona packs it in". New Straits Times. 18 December 1991.
  14. ^ a b Hind, John (3 May 2009). "Did I Say That?: Eric Cantona".  
  15. ^ Lovejoy, Joe (15 August 1992). "Football: Kick-off 92–93". The Independent. 
  16. ^ Andrews, Phil (26 August 1992). "Cantona hits hat-trick to crush Spurs". The Independent. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Hills, David (12 August 2007). "The ten most entertaining transfers". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  18. ^ Haylett, Trevor (3 March 1993). "'"FA charges Cantona over 'spitting. The Independent. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Eric Cantona – A Football Legend Profile". Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  20. ^ Allsop, Derek (20 December 1993). "Villa succumb to mastery of maestro Cantona". The. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "1994/95 Charity Shield".
  22. ^ "Manchester United". RSSSF.
  23. ^ Lacey, David (26 January 1995). "Cantona hits fan, faces lengthy ban". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  24. ^ Jackson, Jamie (31 October 2004). The target"The 30 most outrageous sporting moments:". The Observer. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  25. ^ Oliver, Brian (31 October 2004). "The kick that stunned football". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  26. ^ Boggan, Steve (24 March 1995). "Jail term may make Cantona quit UK". The Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "Cantona completes community service".  
  28. ^ Midgley, Simon (1 April 1995). "'"`When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "Cantona is out". The Hour (Norwalk). Associated Press. 27 January 1995. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  30. ^ Haylett, Trevor (28 January 1995). "Cantona banned until summer THE CANTONA AFFAIR: France strip United playmaker of captaincy and will not con sider him for internationals until next season". The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Haylett, Trevor (25 February 1995). "Cantona escapes life ban as FA takes suspension into next season". The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  32. ^ Thomsen, Ian (27 January 1995). "French Star's 'Stain' on English Soccer".  
  33. ^ Haylett, Trevor (28 January 1995). "Cantona banned until summer The Cantona Affair: France strip United playmaker of captaincy and will not con sider him for internationals until next season". The Independent (Independent Print). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  34. ^ "Sports People: Soccer; United Suspends Cantona". The New York Times. 28 January 1995. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  35. ^ Wilson, Steve (4 March 2011). "Eric Cantona: kung-fu kick on hooligan was like a dream for some fans". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  36. ^ Malone, Emmet. "Cantona says au revoir to football".  
  37. ^ Burt, Jason (15 April 2003). "Cantona's world of sardines, fat managers and early retirement".  
  38. ^ "Manchester United – Hall of Fame". 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  39. ^ "Cantona hits out at Glazer family". BBC Sport. 22 November 2005. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  40. ^ "United set for Eric's comeback". 6 July 2008.
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Nasri latest to join 'Les Miserables' French cast". 25 June 2012.
  43. ^ Wightman 2002, p. 198.
  44. ^ "Cantona blasts France". BBC Sport. 28 June 2004.
  45. ^ "The Salvation (2014)". Tuppence Magazine (Tuppence Magazine). 26 May 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  46. ^ "Nike and Maven Networks Introduce JogaTV". Nikego (Nike). 17 April 2006. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  47. ^ Cozens, Claire (3 April 2002). "Cantona hosts World Cup with a difference". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  48. ^ "A lighter shoe, cooler kits, a faster ball, a Secret Tournament – every touch counts". NikeBiz (Nike). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  49. ^ Dyer, Claire (12 September 2006). "Nike scores own goal on Hackney Marshes". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  50. ^ Kane, Pat (18 July 2006). "Let football eat itself". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  51. ^ Wolmar, Christian (22 May 1996). "Pounds 49 Paris return in Eurostar takeover". The Independent (Independent Print). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  52. ^ Palmer, Carl (23 September 2004). "Cantona's star shoot". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  53. ^ "New Renault Laguna, Eric Cantona the meeting" (PDF). Media Renault (Renault S.A.). 23 March 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  54. ^ "Eric Cantona takes New York Cosmos director job".  
  55. ^ "Finance Minister Lagarde gives red card to Cantona over bank plan". France 24. 2 December 2010.
  56. ^ Eric Cantona running for French presidency was a dream that turned out to be nothing but a mirage. The Daily Telegraph. 11 January 2012.
  57. ^ Henriksen, Sissel (16 June 2012). "Fotballspiller i fare" [Footballer in danger].  
  58. ^ "Cantona career stats". Football Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  59. ^ "Cantona UEFA stats".  
  60. ^ "Cantona Manchester United stats". Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  61. ^ "Éric Cantona". National Football Teams. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  62. ^ "Eric Cantona – International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  63. ^ "Eric Cantona". Retrieved 17 April 2013.


  • Auclair, Philippe (2009). Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King. Macmillan.  
  • Blacker, Terence; Donaldson, William (1997). The Meaning of Cantona: Meditations on Life, Art and Perfectly Weighted Balls. Mainstream Publishing.  
  • Cantona, Eric (1996). Cantona on Cantona: Reflections of a sporting legend. Andre Deutsch.  
  • Robinson, Michael (1995). La Philosophie De Cantona.  
  • Wightman, Rob (2002).  
  • Worrall, Frank (2008). "Chapter 7: From Caveman to Cavemen". The Magnificent Sevens. London: John Blake Publishing. p. 103.  


Partial filmography


# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 12 May 2005 Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro  Spain 6–2 7–4 2005 Beach Soccer World Cup

Beach football goals

Scores and results list France's goal tally first.

International goals

France national team
Year Apps Goals
1987 3 1
1988 2 0
1989 4 3
1990 7 6
1991 4 2
1992 9 2
1993 7 5
1994 8 1
1995 1 0
Total 45 20


Season Club Division League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Other Total
1983–84 Auxerre Division 1 2 0 0 0 2 0
1984–85 5 2 0 0 0 0 5 2
1985–86 7 0 0 0 1 0 8 0
1985–86 Martigues Division 2 15 4 0 0 15 4
1986–87 Auxerre Division 1 36 13 4 4 40 17
1987–88 32 8 5 1 2 1 39 10
1988–89 Marseille 22 5 0 0 22 5
1988–89 Bordeaux 11 6 1 0 0 0 12 6
1989–90 Montpellier 33 10 6 4 39 14
1990–91 Marseille 18 8 0 0 3 1 21 9
1991–92 Nîmes 17 2 0 0 17 2
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Charity Shield Total
1991–92 Leeds United First Division 15 3 0 0 0 0 15 3
1992–93 Premier League 13 6 0 0 1 0 5 2 1 3 20 11
1992–93 Manchester United 22 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 23 9
1993–94 34 18 5 4 5 1 4 2 1 0 49 25
1994–95 21 12 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 25 14
1995–96 30 14 7 5 1 0 0 0 38 19
1996–97 36 11 3 0 0 0 10 3 1 1 50 15
France total 198 58 16 9 6 2 220 69
England total 171 73 17 10 7 1 21 7 4 5 220 96
Career total 369 131 33 19 7 1 27 9 4 5 440 165


Career statistics

His cousin, Sacha Opinel, is also a footballer.

Cantona's brother, Joël, was also a professional footballer who played for Olympique de Marseille, Újpesti TE and Stockport County. Like Cantona, Joël has retired from football and is now an actor.

Cantona was married to Isabelle Ferrer, they have two children; Raphael (born 1988) and Josephine (born 1995). He is now married to actress Rachida Brakni.


In June 2012, he signed a petition for the release of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak – imprisoned without conviction by Israel since July 2009.[57]

In January 2012, Cantona began trying to gather the 500 signatures from elected officials necessary for a bid for the French presidential election, in order to draw support for the homeless charity and campaign group Emmaus.[56]

Cantona called for a social revolution against the banks and encouraged customers of the major retail banks to withdraw their money on 7 December 2010 in protest at the global financial crisis. This proposal then became the base for an online campaign calling for a bank run.[55]

Political views

The New York Cosmos announced the Frenchman's return to football as their Director of Soccer on 18 January 2011. On arrival, Cantona described his role to the press as to help Cosmos "regain the number one position in the United States and then... to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years."[54]

Cantona at Old Trafford with the Cosmos, 5 August 2011

Return to football in 2011

Shortly after his departure from Manchester United, Cantona became captain of the French national beach football team. Cantona has continued his interest in beach football games in southern Asia and at the Inaugural Kronenbourg Beach Soccer in 2002, in the city of Brighton. He managed the French team which won the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005 in Rio de Janeiro. He also coached the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup French national team, which finished in third place. In the 2007 World Cup Cantona was again successful, taking France to fourth place. The Cup was held in France for the first time in the 2008 World Cup; however, Cantona was unable to make the top four after losing to Italy in the quarter finals.

Beach football

In 2007, he performed a spoken-word role on the album La mécanique du cœur, by French rock band Dionysos.

[53].Renault Laguna In 2009, he featured in a British television advertisement for a new model of the [52] advertisement in 2004.EuroMillions Irish and an [51] commercial in 1996,Eurostar He also starred in a [50]

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