Eric Cantona was one of the game’s best, transforming the Manchester United team and the Premier League. In 1992, Cantona was signed to United with a $1.2 million contract. When Cantona arrived on the team, Manchester was seated in eighth in standings and the team was in desperate need of goals. The team had their major striker sidelined and since the coach had not won a league title cine 1986, there was much pressure. Coach Ferguson took a huge gamble when he signed the young Cantona to the team and it changed the game for Manchester United forever.
Manchester went on to win the season and then enjoy three other league wins along with two FA Cups in a four year period. With a huge fan base, Cantona was a superstar, but he made news not due to staggering stats and an amazing team performance, but because he announced his retirement in 1997, just five years after starting his superb career with United. The legend claims he hung up his cleats simply because he lost his passion and enthusiasm for the game.
A Controversial Career
Cantona had a very successful career with Manchester, but in 1995, he was involved in an incident hat attracted news and created much controversy in the league and around the world. During a match versus Crystal Palace, the star player was sent off the field due to a kick to a defender after that player removed his shirt. As Cantona was leaving the field, he launched a kick into the crowd at a Crystal Palace fan. The kick was then followed by punches and this earned Cantona a ban from the league for 8 months, one of the longest bans in English football history. Some believed Cantona should be banned for life from the league, but he did return after his 8 month stint and played with Manchester again.
In addition to the disciplinary action for this event, Cantona was also charged with assault on the fan and served two weeks in prison, freed on bail. He filed an appeal that was overturned a week later and received a sentence of 120 hours of community service.
Also he was involved in a controversial ad in the UK which linked gambling to solving personal problems. Modern casinos like Casumo and sports books now take a much more stringent approach to adverts to ensure they are compliant.
Cantona Will Be Seen Again
Soccer fans around the world were thrilled to hear that Eric Cantona would be returning to the pitch in 2018 when he plays in the UNICEF Soccer Aid fundraiser in June. This event is expected to attract thousands of fans from around the world. Those who followed Cantona’s exciting career with Manchester United will once again be able to see the legend take the field and play the game.
The 51 year old player is looking forward to taking the Old Trafford field once again and he will be joined by some other familiar faces including Gordon Ramsey. Usain Bolt, Olly Murs and Sir Mo Farah. Cantona will be playing with other legendary players in the World XI event and this will be the first time that he has played in the area since 2001. Cantona has an interesting past when he played with Manchester United and was surrounded by controversy. Years later, he is still a loved player and fans are eagerly awaiting his return to the pitch for this amazing event.
Since his retirement from professional football, Cantona turned his focus to acting and hafavouredseen in some movies like Looking for Eric, Elizabeth and French Film. While his acting career was not nearly as successful as his athletic career, Cantona kept his name alive and is still one of the favored players to have ever played with United. Now, in June, fans can watch the star play once again.