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Category: Eric Cantona

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Nessun Dorma podcast: from Eric Cantona to Glenn Hoddle and Kenny G

The pod discuss the greatest player of all time, musical failures, televised football and Manchester United’s first title for 26 yearsModern life is a great advert for nostalgia. That’s why we started Nessun Dorma, a semi-regular podcast about football…

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Manchester United: their top five worst Champions League displays | Daniel Harris

Following their last-16 defeat by Sevilla, we revisit five of Manchester United’s worst Champions League encountersManchester United’s return to the European Cup was fiercely anticipated – they had been away since 1969. After winning the Cup Winners’ C…

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Premier League at 25: the best player – Eric Cantona | Paul Doyle

In the first of a five-part series we pick the division’s finest player. Cantona was the enigma who exploded the doubt at Manchester United, his arrival sparking a first title win for 26 years and a sustained run of success under Sir Alex Ferguson

We can’t be putting Tina Turner on for just any old hero, nor merely for the most skilful. And the toughest, longest-lasting or most prolific can go whistle because only one player can be serenaded as simply the best and it must be the one who has done more than any other to shape the Premier League years. Show us another player who has radiated as much influence as Eric Cantona and we will show you a figment of your imagination.

The rebranding of English football’s First Division as the Premier League coincided with the dawn of Manchester United’s imperial age. Before that they had been champions seven times in 89 years; since then they have won 13 of 25 available titles. There is a fair chance that followers of Manchester’s red team would be (much less numerous and) still harking back to the black-and-white era if it were not for Cantona, the enigma who exploded doubt.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Move over Cantona, I want to be God of Manchester

• New signing laughs off Cantona’s welcome message
• United head off to China on Tuesday for pre-season tour

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told Eric Cantona that becoming the prince of Manchester United is not enough. He wants to be “God” of Old Trafford.

Cantona, nicknamed “The King’ during his time at United, sent a tongue-in-cheek message to the Swede that Ibrahimovic would not be able to wear his crown but could still become prince at United after joining the club on a free transfer.

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Didier Deschamps to take legal action against Eric Cantona over race claims

• Cantona told Guardian Deschamps may have left out players on racial grounds
• France coach’s lawyer describes statements as ‘slanderous and defamatory’

Didier Deschamps will file a legal complaint against Eric Cantona after his former France team-mate controversially suggested the squad selection for Euro 2016 may have been racially motivated, Deschamps’ lawyer said on Friday.

Related: Eric Cantona believes Didier Deschamps may have left out France players on racial grounds

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Eric Cantona believes Didier Deschamps may have left out France players on racial grounds

• Frenchman asks why Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa were omitted
• Cantona and Didier Deschamps have a long history of animosity

Eric Cantona has controversially suggested the ethnicity of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa may have been a factor in the France manager Didier Deschamps leaving the pair out of his squad for next month’s European Championship.

Ben Arfa, a former Newcastle forward, was only named on standby despite a brilliant season for Nice that has seen him linked with a move to Barcelona. But it is Benzema’s exclusion after he was questioned by police in connection with an alleged attempt by one of his friends to blackmail his international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape which is given particularly short shrift by Cantona, who turned 50 on Tuesday.

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Eric Cantona: ‘I love José Mourinho but he is not Manchester United’

The French legend, in an exclusive interview on his 50th birthday, says Pep Guardiola is the only manager capable of ‘changing Manchester’ and explains why he will be cheering on England at Euro 2016 – not France

Eric Cantona turned 50 on Tuesday and is still doing what he has always done best: playing the part of Eric Cantona to a tee. For Manchester United fans still digesting the end of the soured Louis van Gaal era and the imminent arrival of José Mourinho, he has a simple diagnosis of what has gone wrong.

“They miss me,” Cantona says, playful but serious at the same time. “I think they have lost something. You can feel it. But it’s difficult to come after someone who has been at the club 25 years. Even if you are a great manager, the fans still feel the philosophy of Ferguson.”

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Eric Cantona sues New York Cosmos for $1m in alleged back pay

• Former director of soccer files NY lawsuit
• Frenchman was fired after scuffle in London

Eric Cantona is suing the New York Cosmos, alleging the team fired him without paying him nearly $1m (£714,000) in salary and a 4% equity interest.

The Frenchman, 48, who won four Premier League titles in five years with Manchester United in the 1990s, was hired by the Cosmos in 2011 to be the team’s director of soccer.

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Eric Cantona: PSG’s Javier Pastore is the best player in the world

• ‘I watched two PSG games just to see him play’
• Cantona says Catalonia won 2010 World Cup, not Spain Continue reading…




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Wet stuff: Eric Cantona set for Full Monty-ish synchronised swimming film

The 48-year-old footballer-turned-actor is returning to Manchester for new film about an unemployed man setting up a swim team in 80s Britain

Eric Cantona is heading back to Manchester to make a new film about synchronised swimming called The Mermaid Men.

The actor, who played for Manchester United between 1992 and 1997, is taking the lead in the comedy, said to be reminiscent of The Full Monty, as an unemployed man setting up a swim team in 80s Britain. His character hopes to win an international competition in honour of his dead wife.

Related: Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick 20 years on – the night that changed football forever

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The gifs that keep on giving: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Eric Cantona

Featuring Raphaël Varane’s warm-up routine, scary skiing, a football miracle, shattered glass on the basketball court and a touch of genius from Juninho

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The gifs that keep on giving: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Eric Cantona

Featuring Raphaël Varane’s warm-up routine, scary skiing, a football miracle, shattered glass on the basketball court and a touch of genius from Juninho

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Eric Cantona | The Gallery

This week’s winner is, Daryl Floyd who gets a copy of Six Stickers: A Journey To Complete An Old Sticker Album. Get in touch to claim your prize. Next week we’d like your takes on Thibaut Courtois. Send your efforts to gallery@theguardian.com by noon on Monday 9 February as a jpeg, complete with a CAPTION. Anyone who forgets will have to do something reasonably irritating that we have not yet come up with

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Our favourite things online this week: from Deflategate to Peter Schmeichel

Featuring Eric Cantona’s politics, the joy of flopping, a seamstress’s view of the Deflategate scandal, two goalkeepers having a chat and sport’s place in culture

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We’ve all been there, but few of us have experienced the five stages of grief because 11 footballs were under-inflated. Hot air is big news in the US right now and Ian Crouch of the New Yorker is on hand to explain the whole Deflategate fandango and give this ballbusting tale some meaning. Crouch tells the story from the perspective of a New England Patriots fan and reaches the satisfactory conclusion that all’s well that ends with a Super Bowl.

Sport is everywhere but do you ever notice that it’s always on its own? Music and film have been copulating for decades now, so too have food and art, politics and architecture, dance and theatre. Yet sport remains a phenomenon in almost complete isolation. If sport is popular, ubiquitous and current, why has the non-sporting world cast it aside? Why isn’t sport invited to the party?

Many professional footballers in the 21st century are entertainers, performing unscripted theatre in outdoor arenas in front of huge audiences simultaneously broadcast globally on televisions, computers, and smartphones. Oddly for such a media-reliant industry, the stars of the show are rarely known for being articulate public speakers or great thinkers. Their feet, apparently, do the talking. This is a great shame. When was the last time a footballer said something of interest in a post-match interview that provided authentic insight into what had just transpired on a field of so-called “dreams”? When a footballer does come along who thinks about the world outside the self-obsessed bubble many inhabit, it comes as a great surprise. A footballer who behaves like this is a deemed “character”, considered somewhat eccentric, and not cut from the same cloth as most of his peers.

“Moments after unfurling a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse that punched the Seattle Seahawks’ ticket to the Super Bowl, quarterback Russell Wilson joined a bunch of his team-mates as they knelt in a prayer circle in the middle of CenturyLink field. As the camera lingered on this impromptu congregation, tears mingled with the sweat on Wilson’s ecstatic face. Once the worshippers had finished giving thanks and praise, he was corralled by a television crew to whom, through sobs, he offered a very spiritual take on leading the Seahawks to a famous comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers. “God is for good, man, all the time, every time,” said Wilson. “I just believe God is preparing me for these situations, God is preparing our team too as well.” The touchdown celebrated by pointing skyward in acknowledgment of a higher power, the victory that isn’t really complete until franked by a breathless, on-camera explanation of the unseen part played by Jesus in the triumph.

“Vic Braden did more than anyone to make tennis big in America. He taught countless players, from world No1s like Tracy Austin to hopeless hackers to Hollywood stars. He trained armies of teaching pros who went on to inspire others. He applied science to the sport and taught the world what actually happens when a racket meets a ball. He helped Jack Kramer, the American tennis star and entrepreneur, promote the fledgling professional tour, which eventually forced the Grand Slam tournaments to open their draws to both amateurs and pros. Once upon a time, Braden’s name had such cachet that he even started a ski school in Aspen.”

The emotions you experience after your team has scored are intense. It’s pure ecstasy. As such, the players who score goals are the most coveted and cost the most to buy. All of this we know to be true. So please, pretty please, please with a cherry on top, can you tell me why would you not celebrate scoring for your team? I find it incomprehensible. Yes, I know that you used to play for them, but if you loved them that much, why did you leave? Scoring against your old club was always going to be a possibility. If it was going to cause this much heartache, why didn’t you save yourself the trouble and stay? What’s that? You didn’t want to leave? They didn’t want you so you had to leave? Mate: THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU.

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Our favourite things online this week: from Deflategate to Peter Schmeichel

Featuring Eric Cantona’s politics, the joy of flopping, a seamstress’s view of the Deflategate scandal, two goalkeepers having a chat and sport’s place in culture

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We’ve all been there, but few of us have experienced the five stages of grief because 11 footballs were under-inflated. Hot air is big news in the US right now and Ian Crouch of the New Yorker is on hand to explain the whole Deflategate fandango and give this ballbusting tale some meaning. Crouch tells the story from the perspective of a New England Patriots fan and reaches the satisfactory conclusion that all’s well that ends with a Super Bowl.

Sport is everywhere but do you ever notice that it’s always on its own? Music and film have been copulating for decades now, so too have food and art, politics and architecture, dance and theatre. Yet sport remains a phenomenon in almost complete isolation. If sport is popular, ubiquitous and current, why has the non-sporting world cast it aside? Why isn’t sport invited to the party?

Many professional footballers in the 21st century are entertainers, performing unscripted theatre in outdoor arenas in front of huge audiences simultaneously broadcast globally on televisions, computers, and smartphones. Oddly for such a media-reliant industry, the stars of the show are rarely known for being articulate public speakers or great thinkers. Their feet, apparently, do the talking. This is a great shame. When was the last time a footballer said something of interest in a post-match interview that provided authentic insight into what had just transpired on a field of so-called “dreams”? When a footballer does come along who thinks about the world outside the self-obsessed bubble many inhabit, it comes as a great surprise. A footballer who behaves like this is a deemed “character”, considered somewhat eccentric, and not cut from the same cloth as most of his peers.

“Moments after unfurling a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse that punched the Seattle Seahawks’ ticket to the Super Bowl, quarterback Russell Wilson joined a bunch of his team-mates as they knelt in a prayer circle in the middle of CenturyLink field. As the camera lingered on this impromptu congregation, tears mingled with the sweat on Wilson’s ecstatic face. Once the worshippers had finished giving thanks and praise, he was corralled by a television crew to whom, through sobs, he offered a very spiritual take on leading the Seahawks to a famous comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers. “God is for good, man, all the time, every time,” said Wilson. “I just believe God is preparing me for these situations, God is preparing our team too as well.” The touchdown celebrated by pointing skyward in acknowledgment of a higher power, the victory that isn’t really complete until franked by a breathless, on-camera explanation of the unseen part played by Jesus in the triumph.

“Vic Braden did more than anyone to make tennis big in America. He taught countless players, from world No1s like Tracy Austin to hopeless hackers to Hollywood stars. He trained armies of teaching pros who went on to inspire others. He applied science to the sport and taught the world what actually happens when a racket meets a ball. He helped Jack Kramer, the American tennis star and entrepreneur, promote the fledgling professional tour, which eventually forced the Grand Slam tournaments to open their draws to both amateurs and pros. Once upon a time, Braden’s name had such cachet that he even started a ski school in Aspen.”

The emotions you experience after your team has scored are intense. It’s pure ecstasy. As such, the players who score goals are the most coveted and cost the most to buy. All of this we know to be true. So please, pretty please, please with a cherry on top, can you tell me why would you not celebrate scoring for your team? I find it incomprehensible. Yes, I know that you used to play for them, but if you loved them that much, why did you leave? Scoring against your old club was always going to be a possibility. If it was going to cause this much heartache, why didn’t you save yourself the trouble and stay? What’s that? You didn’t want to leave? They didn’t want you so you had to leave? Mate: THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU.

Continue reading…

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From the Vault: Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick at Selhurst Park on 25 January 1995

The picture of Eric Cantona flinging himself feet-first at a supporter in Selhurst Park remains one of the most iconic images of the Premier League era. Here we look back at how the incident was covered at the time. Various voices called for Cantona to apologise and change his ways. He never did, but neither did the fan

“I have this passion in me that I can’t handle. It’s like a fire inside you which demands to escape and which you have to let go. Sometimes it wants to get out to do harm. I do myself harm. It worries me when I do harm, especially to others. But I can’t be what I am without these other sides to my character.” Eric Cantona

In Roy Keane’s recent autobiography he tells a story which goes some way to explaining why Manchester United’s players looked up to Eric Cantona. The players have just been given £800 each for their various in-house media appearances but, to make the cheques worth cashing, they decide to pool the money together and raffle it off to one lucky winner: “Each of us would get about £800 out of it at the end of the season for the work we’d done,” recalls Keane. “We were all on decent money and £800 wasn’t going to make or break us, so one time, we decided to put all the cheques into a hat and the last cheque out, whoever’s name was on it, got to keep all of the cheques.”

Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United
By David Lacey

Manchester United failed to go top of the Premiership last night but that turned out to be the least of their problems. Yet again Old Trafford’s season has been thrown into turmoil by the nitro-glycerine in human form that is Eric Cantona.

Be a man, Eric, say sorry
By Gary Lineker, on 29 January 1995

Not once during the many years of Eric Cantona’s altercations with the various bodies of football, both in France and here in England, has he ever showed the slightest sign of remorse for his actions. Whether it was punching his own goalkeeper, throwing his shirt at a referee, hitting a team-mate with his boots (presumably not on his feet at the time), or his innumerable sendings-off, not once has there been an expression of regret for the undoubted wrongs he has committed.

Cantona’s flashpoint of no return
By David Lacey, on 27 January 1995

If professional football is to retain any lingering pretensions to be a part of sport, as opposed to a product guided by market forces, then Eric Cantona has surely played his last game for Manchester United. Should he appear in United’s team against Wrexham in the FA Cup tomorrow then Old Trafford might as well give up football and go into the shirt business full-time.

Cantona’s flying two-footed, chest-high assault on a spectator who abused him after he had been sent off at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night has brought swift condemnation from the FA, the police, the players’ union, assorted former professionals and even some United fans. The police intend to interview both Cantona and Paul Ince, who became caught up in the melee. Statements have already been taken from the two fans involved as well as other spectators.

The Cantona context
By the Guardian, on 27 January 1995

Eric Cantona est innocent, n’est-ce pas? Well obviously he’s not. To condone what he did would be hopeless, perverse. But aren’t we all rushing to judgment only about the easy bit? At least allow a wider case to be heard before the best player in British football is banished.

The target: Matthew Simmons
By Jamie Jackson

Matthew Simmons is sitting in a hotel bar in Croydon, south London, reflecting on the night at Selhurst Park that changed his life for ever. In the immediate aftermath of Cantona’s attack on him, Simmons became one of the most recognisable and reviled men in Britain: he lost his job, family members ignored him and reporters pursued him.

Having been charged with assault, Cantona told Croydon crown court that, as he walked along the touchline, he had heard Simmons insulting his mother in the crudest way. Simmons is adamant that Cantona lied. “For God’s sake you can’t say a worse thing about anyone, can you? What he did in saying that was totally unjustified. The man is filth. How can he accuse me of saying such a thing? Where has this allegation against me come from? From him. It ruined my life. And that is why it is inexcusable.”

Cathy Churchman, who was next to Simmons that night, concedes she never heard what Simmons said. “There were all these people who said, ‘Oh we could hear what he shouted out’. That’s absolute and utter crap because I never heard anybody shout. Everybody was booing because he was sent off. So those who were sitting 11 rows behind us and who claim they could hear what was being said are talking rubbish.”

The assailant : Eric Cantona
By Darren Tulett

Barefoot and bearded, his long hair swept back, Eric Cantona strides towards me in a red beach-football kit, his imposing physique seeming to fill the corridor of the Paris arena where soon he will receive the biggest ovation of this star-filled night. Seven years after abruptly ending his playing career at the age of 31, he has lost nothing of the brooding presence that helped make him such an unpredictable success in England with football fans and marketing men alike. The Frenchman, still wearing the No7 from his Manchester United heyday, has charisma but also an edge of menace.

He still doesn’t like to talk about what happened at Selhurst Park. When pushed, he rejects the term “karate kick” as a description for his attack on Matthew Simmons. “There was a barrier between us so I had to jump over it,” he says now. “That’s all, otherwise I might have just steamed in with my fists. You know, you meet thousands of people like him. And how things turn out can hinge on the precise moment you run into them. If I’d met that guy on another day, things may have happened very differently even if he had said exactly the same things. Life is weird like that. You’re on a tightrope every day.

“The most important thing for me is that I was who I was. I was myself! I don’t think you can plan on when you’re going to lose it, or anything like that. What matters when you do lose it, for a good or bad reason, is to try to understand why you do things. But life can be so complicated. Even if you understood why you did something, it doesn’t mean you won’t go and do the same thing again tomorrow. The best thing you can do is to take a step back and laugh at yourself. A bit of self-derision.”

What might have led to the end of one career actually opened the door to another. Film director Etienne Chatillez cast him and brother Joël in Le Bonheur est dans le Pré. Cantona was once mocked for daring to admit to a fondness for poetry and painting – not considered normal behaviour for a footballer – but the cinema is now his passion. After acting in five feature films and making his directorial debut with a short film based on a Charles Bukowski story, he is now preparing his second film behind the camera. It will be ‘about paranoia’, he says.

He likens directing to being a football coach. ‘It’s exactly the same thing. There is a way of instilling confidence in people. There is a story: knowing what we’re going to do together, what our goal is. Directors and coaches both have to get the best out of different personalities, make sure everyone gives of his best for the team. For the same objective, the same goal. Yes, it’s exactly the same job.’

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Eric Cantona’s kung fu-kick at 20: Guardian reports from the archive

Twenty years ago today, Eric Cantona stunned the football world as he launched himself feet first at a fan who he claimed had baited him. Here’s how the Guardian covered the dramatic story

Having been sent off in the 48th minute in a match against Crystal Palace, the Manchester United striker Eric Cantona launched himself at Matthew Simmons before the pair traded punches. In his match report for the Guardian, David Lacey said Cantona went ‘beserk.’ He also questioned whether the talented Frenchman’s days in English football were numbered.

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Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick 20 years on – the night that changed football forever

The striker’s assault on a fan at Selhurst Park still polarises opinion. Some say it added to his appeal, others that it forever tarnished his reputation. Here is the story from the people who were there
• Attack on fan was ‘a dream’ for supporters, admits Cantona
• Read David Lacey’s report: Cantona lets fly, 26 January 1995

On 10 January 1995 Manchester United bought Andy Cole from Newcastle United for £7m, one of the great English transfer sensations of the last quarter-century. Cole had been spectacularly prolific the previous season, scoring 34 league goals (none of them penalties), but at the time of his transfer had scored once in three months, allowing the Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan, to claim that he had struck a spectacular deal for a player whose star was on the wane. Cole made his debut at home to his new team’s title rivals, Blackburn, a week later, without playing particularly well. His second game would come against Crystal Palace on 25 January, and he was the almost undivided focus of media attention in the buildup.

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Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick – brick-by-brick video

A brick-by-brick reimagining of Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick on Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, which occurred during Manchester United’s match at Selhurst Park on 25 January 1995. Cantona had just received a red card for lashing out at Palace defender Richard Shaw. He went on to receive an eight-month ban for his behaviour

• Audio from the 1995 press conference is courtesy of the BBC, 1995 Continue reading…



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The Premier League’s 91 goalscoring nations

Victor Wanyamas goal made Kenya the latest nation to have a goalscorer in Englands top flight. Find out when each country scored and which club has introduced the most new goalscorersQuiz: test your knowledge of the Premier Leagues global scorers Conti…