These 8 Videos Tell You What You Need To Know About Soccer Legend Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona

Photo: Chris Brunskill / Getty Sport

Yesterday, controversial soccer icon, Eric Cantona, stated he wished to become president of France. However, reports emerged this morning revealing that the prospect of a presidential run from Cantona were just part of an elaborate publicity stunt. Cantona himself has admitted that he made the announcement about his candidacy to raise awareness to the number of homeless people in France.

With his brazen character and unique, if not a little brash, personality, Cantona is more than an ex-sports star trying to dabble with politics; he’s an eccentric ex-sports star trying to dabble with politics. And he’s also addicted to attention. 

It’s just another example of the star’s bravado and theatrics. We’ve compiled a few of his notable moments here so you can have a look. 

A great soccer player.

One aspect of Cantona that has never been subject to controversy is (or was) his soccer ability. Goals like the one below still cause fans of Manchester United fans to salivate.

Having begun his soccer career in France, notably with Marseilles and Auxerre (where he infamously punched his own goalkeeper) the Presidential candidate moved to England in 1992 to play for Leeds United. His stay at the Yorkshire club was brief; Manchester United signed him in November 1992 and the rest should have been history.

His most famous moment, however, was (slightly) off the pitch.

Having been sent off in a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in 1995, Cantona was subjected to a little bit of verbal abuse from one of the home team's fans. Not willing to take it on the chin, Cantona unleashed what has come to be known as his infamous 'kung fu kick' hitting the fan square in the chest.

Cantona was convicted of assault, resulting in an ultimate penalty of 120 hours of community service. He was also fined £20,000 ($31,000) and banned for the remainder of the Premier League season.

After his retirement, endorsement offers flooded in.

Cantona's career after soccer left a lot to be desired. His acting, as we've just seen was less than impressive. He also tried to rejuvenate his sporting legacy by participating in beach soccer. Enough said.

However, the Frenchman's character meant that there were definitely some roles he was born to play. None seemed more appropriate than this sinister mafia-esque boss, hosting a secret soccer tournament on his cargo ship in a commercial for Nike. It's also, we should add, one hell of an ad.

Here he endorsed the Renault Laguna.

On the subject of ads, Cantona has appeared in his fair share.

If we want to judge our leaders by how well they could sell a used car then surely this commercial would have put Cantona in great stead if he actually was running to be president.

We wonder what his campaign ads would be like...

He also tried his hand at acting.

Cantona certainly had more to give soccer when he retired just a few days before his 31st birthday in 1997. His antics had caused him to be removed from the French national squad, though many thought he could still play at the highest level.

Cantona used his retirement to fulfil a movie career. As is evident from the clip from 1998 film 'Elizabeth' below, he never looked quite as comfortable on the big screen as he did with a ball at his feet.

He even played himself in an art-house movie.

While Cantona's movie career no way matches up to his soccer one, he was deemed an important enough icon (probably by the residents of a certain city in North-West England) to become the subject of a British film.

The movie, 'Looking for Eric' stars Cantona as an inspirational hallucination of himself. The film and even got decent reviews.

And tried his hand at soccer in America.

When someone decided that the defunct soccer team the New York Cosmos needed to be revived, Cantona got a call to help out.

He took up the role of Director of Football at the club, which must be an interesting position to hold when no football is actually being played.

But his interest in politics seems sincere.

And now, Cantona got everyone's attention by saying he wanted to be president of France. Despite his admissions that he has no such intention he has been vocal on some of his campaign issues, evident from the video from 2010 below.

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