A football enthusiast since childhood, Eric Cantona left his family in Marseille at the age of 15 to play for Auxerre. He made his debut at the age of 17, but was unable to find his feet immediately. He played just 15 games in his first three seasons and spent more time in the youth team. In his youth, Cantona frequently changed clubs, each time playing for them on loan. First, the footballer played for Bordeaux, then for Montpellier and Nimes Olympique. These changes were due to the nature of the player.
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Via Sheffield Wednesday, Cantona landed at Leeds United in 1991, with whom he won the English Championship in his first season. This victory was the first for the club since 1974 and the last to date. Eric Cantona made a major contribution to this triumphant victory.
His career developed as quickly as his arrogant character. In 1992, he was in good hands with Sir Alex and played for Manchester United. Cantona led Manchester United to further victories and inspired young players by his example: Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
“I’d give all the champagne I’ve ever drunk in my life for just one game with him in a great European Cup game at Old Trafford,” George Best says of Eric Cantona.
In 1996/97, Manchester United defended their league title and Eric Cantona became champions for the fourth time in his five years at United, but his hot temper never left him. For many, Eric Cantona’s punch to a fan was the turning point. The punishment for him was not only disqualification, but also 120 hours of corrective labor and the payment of a fine.
Just before the end of his football career, Cantona began to try his hand at the film and advertising business. Most often, the footballer appeared in Nike ads, in which the unspoken motto of world football – Joga bonito (“The Beautiful Game!”) – is clearly expressed. He has repeatedly said that football and cinema are very similar. His debut film was “Love in the Meadows” (1995). After that, he became a sought-after actor and starred in over 20 films, including Elizabeth (1998), which won several BAFTAs. In 2009, the actor was even lucky enough to play his role in the movie Finding Eric.
If Cantona was a striker in football, then in his personal life everything was much quieter. In the 1980s, Eric Cantona first married Isabelle Ferrer. The marriage brought him two children: son Rafael and daughter Josephine. But after some time, the marriage broke up and the actor got married again. The second wife of the footballer was the actress Rashida Brakni – Eric’s partner in the film “Glutton”, directed by Thierry Binisti. The second wife also gave him two children: son Emir and daughter Selma.
Now Eric lives in Portugal and continues his acting profession. The hot temper that brought him good and bad fame does not leave him either. The former athlete speaks openly about what is happening in the world of football and is the owner of a football travel agency. Cantona has also made a name for himself with a documentary about his hometown club, The Great United, which will be released in 2021.