Cantona has been a colourful character throughout his career and was the main man behind a number of controversies. From his trademark celebration to getting in a brawl with the fans, the former Manchester United forward gave the football fans some ephemeral memories to be cherished. In the following lines, we will have a look at a few such memories which have made him a controversial character on the pitch and off it as well.
Eric Cantona's styling sense has always been the talk of the town. He kept his collars high always which carried a message of domination onto the pitch. It not only put up the picture of an indomitable forward in front of the opposition but also helped him to establish himself as a standout player. Both ways, it helped him in taking control over the proceedings on the field and also put psychological pressure on the opposition.
2. His attitude
The different types of celebrations by Cantona were the highlights of his career. They were outrageous at times and carried a message, which was delivered subtly and at times directly towards the fans of his own as well as opposition fans. It definitely added to the colour of his character.
3. When he kicked a spectator
Yes, he did that and with zero regrets. On 25th January 1995, Cantona had to face a lengthy ban for launching a kung fu style kick on a Crystal Palace fan after he abused him during his way out of the pitch. He followed the assault by two punches and had to face a substantial time on the sidelines. However, he was unapologetic about the incident and when he was asked about his violent behaviour in a press conference, Cantona replied, "When the seagulls chase a trawler, they expect sardines to be thrown at them. Thank you very much."
4. His comments about Didier Deschamps
Cantona is not known to be very friendly with France's World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps. The relationship hit a new low after he made a controversial comment about the then Juventus player in 1996. The Manchester United did not any attempt to pull his punches as he said, "Deschamps gets by because he always gives 100 per cent, but he will never be anything more than a water carrier".
5. I am Cantona!
After his retirement from football, Cantona famously took to acting and played a role in Ken Loach’s film ‘Looking for Eric’. In the movie, he came to the help of Manchester United fan Eric Bishop and rescue him. The postman looks to make his way through a mid-life crisis, Cantona inspires him by saying, “I am not a man, I am Cantona.” The scene made him famous among the United fans even more.
However controversial his comments and actions may be, Cantona's influence on Manchester United and their fans is undeniable even till date. On his 53rd birthday, we take the opportunity to wish a hail and hearty life ahead and stay just be his flamboyant self. We doff our proverbial hat to you, King Cantona!