Eric Cantona

The King of Manchester

Player Biography
Full name: Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona
Date of birth: May 24, 1966
Clubs played for: Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nimes, Leeds, Manchester United
Eric Cantona
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Club Career

Eric Cantona's move from Leeds to Manchester United in November 1992 will go down in history as one of the greatest bargains of all-time. At just £1.2million, he turned out to be an absolute steal, as he inspired the Red Devils to a wealth of domestic success. He had enjoyed success in France before his move across the Channel, notably with Marseille, but it was at Old Trafford that his legacy was truly established.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1983-88 Auxerre 81 23
1985-86 Martigues (loan) 15 4
1988-91 Marseille 40 13
1989 Bordeaux (loan) 11 6
1989-90 Montpellier (loan) 33 10
1991 Nimes 16 2
1992 Leeds 28 9
1992-97 Manchester United 144 64

International Career

The 'enfant terrible' of French football did not have the international career his talents warranted. Never fully trusted by the authorities in his home country, he played in only one major tournament - the 1992 European Championship. He could surely have been part of his country's 1998 World Cup success on home soil, but his nine-month ban in 1995 and the emergence of Zinedine Zidane in the playmaker's role scuppered those hopes.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1987-95 France 45 20

Key Games

Manchester United 2-2 Liverpool (Premier League, October 1, 1995)

Come on, we all knew it was going to happen, didn't we? After nine months on the sidelines as a result of his ban for aiming a kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace fan, Matthew Simmons, Cantona returned to the United team. And, right on cue, as if it were written in the stars, he netted the equalising penalty in the 71st minute to force a 2-2 draw.

Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United (Premier League, March 4, 1996)

The Red Devils went into this game at St James' Park trailing league leaders Newcastle by four points and anxious not to let the gap at the top grow any bigger. Enter centre stage: Eric Cantona. The Frenchman provided the game's decisive moment with a 51st minute volley to seal the points - and marked the beginning of the end for Kevin Keegan that resulted in his infamous "I would love it..." implosion on live TV.

Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool (FA Cup final, May 11, 1966)

Before the match, it was Liverpool's 'Spice Boys' who grabbed the spotlight with their white suits, but it was Eric Cantona who made the headlines that mattered with the winning goal - a well-controlled volley from the edge of the penalty area - five minutes from time as United completed a second League and Cup double inside three seasons.

Honours

Club Competition Year
Marseille French Championship 1988-89, 1990-91
French Cup 1989
Montpellier French Cup 1990
Leeds First Division Championship 1991-92
Manchester United Premier League 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97
FA Cup 1994, 1996
PFA Players' Player of the Year 1994
Football Writers' Footballer of the Year 1996

Did You Know...?

In September 1988, Cantona was banned from international football for a year after swearing at national coach, Henri Michel, in a TV interview.

Cantona had to take a year out of football in 1984 - to do his national service.

Cantona was voted United's Player of the Century in a fans' poll in 2001.

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From the back pages

Manchester United 2-2 Portsmouth Published: January 13, 1994

League Cup quarter-final back page

Manchester United 2-2 Portsmouth Published: January 13, 1994

League Cup quarter-final match report

Cantona To Be Charged Published: January 26, 1995

Eric Cantona kung-fu kick front page

Is This The End For The Madman? Published: January 26, 1995

Eric Cantona kung-fu kick back page

All Hell Broke Loose Published: January 26, 1995

Eric Cantona kung-fu kick news story

'The Most Sickening Act Of Savagery In 20 Years' Published: January 26, 1995

Eric Cantona kung-fu kick comment

Manchester United 2-2 Liverpool Published: October 2, 1995

Premier League match report

Eric de Triomphe Published: October 2, 1995

Premier League back page

Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United Published: March 5, 1996

Premier League match report

Cantoona Published: March 5, 1996

Premier League back page

Stay For Ever, Eric Published: May 11, 1996

Premier League back page

Day Eric Came Back To Make Us Great Again Published: May 11, 1996

Premier League news story

Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool Published: May 13, 1996

FA Cup final match report

Sacre Blue Published: October 4, 2003

Premier League news story

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