55-year-old Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona (born 24 May 1966) is a former professional football player. He is also an actor, director, and producer.

Before ending his career with Manchester United where he won four Premier League titles, he played for several clubs such as Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Leeds United.

He played eight full seasons as a professional and won the league championship in seven of them.

Additionally, Eric has also played for the French national team at an international level.

Cantona is a large, physically strong, and hard-working forward. He is known for his technical skill and creativity along with his power and goal achieving ability.

He is often sealed as having played a pivotal role in the renewal of Manchester United back in the 1990s. As a result, he sustains an exemplary status at the club.

He is often valued as one of the greatest footballers of his peers.

He wore the iconic No. 7 shirt at Manchester United and is known for rolling up his collar.

Cantona is lovingly nicknamed “King Eric” by Manchester United fans. The Inside United magazine voted him as the team’s most exceptional player ever. 

Charming and plain-spoken, Cantona was an introductory selectee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002. The museum has also referred to him as  “the Frenchman who was one of the Premier League’s most controversial players ever”.

At the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards in 2003, he was marked as the Overseas Player of the Decade.

In 2004, he was placed in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players by Pelé.

Cantona’s height is 6 feet 2 inches and he weighs 88 kgs.

Early life

On 24 May 1966, Cantona was born in Marseille, which is located on the coast of the Gulf of Lion.

He the son of Éléonore Raurich, a dressmaker, and Albert Cantona, a nurse and painter. His mother came from Barcelona was Spanish. His parental grandfather, who emigrated from Sardinia, was an Italian.

While fighting the armies of General Franco during the Spanish war in 1938, his grandfather had to come back to France with his wife for treatment due to an injury to his liver.

Before settling in Marseille they stayed in Ardèche.

The Cantona family home was a dwindling one nestled among the hills of Marseille.

In 1966, by the time Cantona was born, the place they were living had become a lot more habitable.

With SO Caillolais, his local team, Cantona began his football career. The team is famous for producing brilliant talents as Roger Jouve, Jean Tigana, and Christophe Galtier.

Originally, Cantona began by following in his father’s footsteps and used to often play as a goalkeeper.

However, his creative impulses began to take over and he started to play more up at the front. He polished his skills and played in more than 200 matches with SO Caillolais.

On November 6, 1991, after Liverpool’s victory against Auxerre during a UEFA cup, Graeme Souness, the club’s manager was met by Michel Platini. Souness was told that Cantano is up for sale to Liverpool.

The club’s manager, however, thanked him for the offer and declined it citing dressing room harmony as the reason.

After being turned down by Liverpool, Cantona was given a trial at Sheffield Wednesday. This was after Trevor Francis, the club’s manager, was approached by Dennis Roach, Platini, and Francis’ former agent.

They agreed to take Carano as a favor to Roach and Platini, who he knew from his time playing in Italy. They mentioned this at a conference in 2012.

It was a great opportunity for Catano to gain his and his fans’ confidence. The club eventually ended up letting him go because they were already paying their top-most players with a Second-Division wage and could not afford him.

He could only spend two days with the club, playing and training for an indoor tournament.

Style of play

Cantona is considered as one of the greatest players of his generation and also among the top Premier League players of all time.

Despite his height and dominating physique, he has a very graceful playing style.

Due to having a long torso, he has a lower center of gravity which gives him a lot more control over the ball as compared to other players.

Cantona is also well-known for his vision, passing, intelligence, quick–thinking, and playmaking skills.

Due to these factors, he often switched between the midfield and forward lines for the entire duration of his career.

However, he was also very much capable of playing as a center-forward. This was due to his ability to hold the ball after keeping his back to the goalpost.

Controversy

Cantona was banned for one month by the French Federation Football. This was after he threw the ball at the referee for not agreeing with one of his decisions.

This incident took place in December 1991 during a match for Nîmes.

Following his hearing about his ban, he called the members of the committee as “idiots”.

As a result, the committee increased his ban by two months on December 16. Afterward, he announced his retirement from football on 16 December 1991.

Set against his achievements in football was a poor controversial record for much of his career. This included a 1995 condemnation for an assault on an abusive spectator for which he received an eight-month suspension.

Personal life

Cantona married Isabelle Ferrer and had two children together. However, the couple divorced in 2003.

He then married Rachida Brakni, French actress and producer; they also had two children together.

He got a chance to act in the 1998 film Elizabeth. Here, he played the role of a French ambassador.

He also starred in the 2009 film Looking for Eric.

Afterward, he gained an interest in beach soccer. He led his team to win the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. He was the captain, player, and manager of the France national team.

NameEric Daniel Pierre Cantona
Born24 May 1966
Age55
Height1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight88 kgs
SpouseIsabelle Ferrer
​(m. 1987; div. 2003)​
Rachida Brakni
(m. 2007)
Children4
PositionForward

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