Eric Cantona Biography

Saturday30 January 2021 | 18:30
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There's never going to be another Eric Cantona. He's been a one-off. He's one of a few candidates for the all-time top Premier League player. Below, we will explore Eric Cantona's journey.

Eric Cantona, or if we go by his full name, Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona, (born May 24, 1966, Marseille, France), a French soccer player who was one of the brightest stars of the sport in the 1990s and is best remembered for his crucial role in the transformation and also his temperamental play in the English giant club Manchester United. Have you ever wanted to know more about King Eric? well, you're in luck! We have gathered all the useful and valuable information such as Eric Cantona age,

Eric Cantona religion

, and so on. Let's start now, shall we?

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All You Should Know About Eric Cantona 

As a child, Cantona played for a well-regarded youth team based outside Marseille until he was discovered by the top-division football club AJ Auxerre at age 15. He made his first-team debut with Auxerre during the 1983–84 season and established himself in 1986–87. That same season he had his first international experience, playing for the French under-21 team.

Cantona was moved to Olympique de Marseille in 1988, and his explosive temper started to have an impact on the pitch at the same time: he was barred from the national team for a year for publicly insulting France's coach, and he was suspended from Marseille in 1989 after tossing his shirt during a charity match at a referee.

Marseille loaned him to Bordeaux, Montpellier (where he helped the team win the 1990 French Cup), and Nîmes, dissatisfied with Cantona's behaviour. He was given a trial by Sheffield Wednesday FC in England after half a season at Nîmes. However, he walked out of the club and signed with Leeds United in February 1992, where he became an immediate success. Three months later, he helped the team win the English First Division (now the Premier League) championship.

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Eric Cantona Information

Let's go through some general facts about Eric Cantona. We have gathered some information that will uncover many aspects of

Eric Cantona bio


Eric Cantona Bio

  • Full Name:

    Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona

  • Nickname:

    King Eric

  • Profession:

    Professional Footballer

Eric Cantona Physical Stats

  • Weight

    : 82 Kg

  • Height

    : 1.87 m

  • Eye Color

    : Dark Brown

  • Hair Color

    : Black

Eric Cantona Football Information

  • Position

    : Striker

  • Jersey Number

    : 7

  • Professional Debut

    : 1987

Eric Cantona Date of Birth and Personal Info

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  • Date of Birth

    : 24/05/1966

  • Birth Place

    : Marseille, France

  • Zodiac Sign

    : Gemini

  • Nationality

    : French

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Eric Cantona Early Life

Cantona was born on 24 May 1966 in Marseille, the son of Éléonore Raurich, a dressmaker, and Albert Cantona, a nurse and painter. His mother, who was Spanish, came from Barcelona, and his paternal grandfather, who was Italian, emigrated from Sardinia to Marseille. While participating in the Spanish Civil War in 1938 against General Franco's armies, Cantona's maternal grandfather, Pere Raurich, had sustained a severe liver injury and had to leave for medical care with his wife in France; they lived in Saint-Priest, Ardèche, until settling in Marseilles.

The home of the Cantona family was a cave in one of the hills in Marseille's Les Caillols district, between the 11th and 12th arrondissements of the city, and it was rumoured to have been used at the end of the Second World War as a lookout post for the Wehrmacht. The site was picked by Cantona's paternal grandmother in the mid-1950s, whose husband was a stonemason. By the time Cantona was born in 1966, the cave on the hill had become nothing more than a space in the house of the family that was now up to the standard of living.

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Eric Cantona Profile

We don't know much about

Eric Cantona childhood

. But his early career began with SO Caillolais. With SO Caillolais, his local team and one that had produced such talent as Roger Jouve and had players like Jean Tigana and Christophe Galtier within its ranks, Cantona started his football career. Cantona initially started to follow in the footsteps of his father and mostly played as a goalkeeper, but his artistic impulses started to take over and he would more and more frequently play up front. Cantona played in more than 200 matches in his time with SO Caillolais.

Auxerre, where he spent two years in the youth team before making his debut on 5 November 1983, in a 4-0 league victory over Nancy, was Cantona's first professional club. In 1987, when he was suspended for punching teammate Bruno Martini in the chest, his disciplinary issues began. The following year, Cantona was in turmoil again due to a reckless kung-fu tackle on Nantes player Michel Der Zakarian, ending in a three-month suspension, this was consequently reduced to a two-month suspension when his Auxerre club threatened to make the player ineligible for national team selection.

He kicked the ball at the crowd in January 1989 during a friendly match against Torpedo Moscow, then tore off and threw away his shirt after being replaced. By banning him for a month, his club replied. Just a couple of months ago, after criticizing national coach Henri Michel on TV, he was barred from international matches for one year.

Having failed to settle in Marseille, Cantona transferred on a six-month loan to Bordeaux and then on a year-long loan to Montpellier. He was involved in the fight with teammate Jean-Claude Lemoult at Montpellier and threw his boots in Lemoult's face. The incident resulted in six players asking to sack Cantona, But the club kept his services, backed by teammates such as Laurent Blanc and Carlos Valderrama, even though they barred him from the ground for ten days.

He hurled the ball at the referee in December 1991, during the Nîmes match, having been upset by one of his decisions. He was called by the French Football Federation to a disciplinary tribunal and was suspended for one month. Cantona replied by walking up and calling them "idiot" to members of the hearing committee in turn.

"He just had that aura and presence. He took responsibility away from us. It was like he said: 'I'm Eric, and I'm here to win the title for you'."

__Paul Ince, former Manchester United midfielder

The news of the unanticipated transfer of Cantona from Leeds to arch rivals Manchester United was met with Leeds fans' resentment. The transfer was, however, seen by most football experts as a good piece of business, removing a volatile player from the team. Cantona was unexpectedly moved to Manchester United after Leeds were ousted from the European Cup. He was a crucial factor in Manchester's first league title in 26 years in 1993, when he became the first player to win the championship in consecutive seasons with different teams. He guided the club to a second Premier League title as well as the following year's FA Cup victory. However, his most controversial act soon affected Cantona's on-field success: as he left the pitch after earning a red card in a game against Crystal Palace FC in January 1995, he was insulted by an opposing fan and retaliated by leaping into the stands and kicking the fan in the chest. He was consequently barred from playing for eight months and sentenced to two weeks in prison (later reduced to 120 hours of community service).

In his first year back, he returned to Manchester for the 1995-96 season and promptly led the team to both league and FA Cup wins. Having led Manchester to a fourth league championship in a five-year period in 1997, At the age of 30, he retired from football. Cantona was much-loved by the faithful of Manchester United, who voted him the club's Player of the Century in a 2001 poll.

When Steve Bruce left Manchester United for Birmingham City, Cantona was selected as Manchester United's captain for the 1996-97 season. He announced that he was retiring from football at the age of 30 at the end of the 1996-1997 season. On 11 May 1997, his final competitive game came against West Ham.

International Career

Eric Cantona nationality

is French, so it'd only be natural that he would be a member of French national team. National team manager Henri Michel gave Cantona his full international debut against West Germany in August 1987. In a post-match TV interview in September 1988, upset after being dropped from the national team, Cantona referred to Michel as a "bag of shit" and was banned from all international matches indefinitely.

However, soon after that, Michel was sacked after failing to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Michel Platini was the new coach and one of his first actions was to recall Cantona. Platini claimed that Cantona would be chosen for France when he was coach as long as he played top-class competitive football; it was Platini who had facilitated Cantona's move to England to revive his career. France qualified for the 1992 Euro in Sweden but, despite the impressive partnership between Cantona and Jean-Pierre Papin, failed to win a single game. After the finals, Platini resigned to be replaced by Gérard Houllier.

In preparation for Euro 96, Aime Jacquet started rebuilding the national team and named Cantona as captain. In January 1995, Cantona remained captain until the Selhurst Park incident. He was also prohibited from playing in international matches by the suspension arising from this incident.

By the time the suspension of Cantona had been completed, Zinedine Zidane had taken over Cantona’s role as the team's playmaker, as Jacquet had revamped the squad with some new players. In the squad, Cantona, Papin and David Ginola missed their seats and were never again picked for the French team, thereby losing Euro 96. Cantona still harbors anger at the head of his national team, but also affection for his adopted football country; he endorsed England and not France at Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Style of Play

Recognized as one of the greatest players of his generation, one of the finest Premier League players of all time, and as one of the best strikers of France and Manchester United ever, Cantona is collectively known as "King Eric." by Manchester United fans. Cantona was a world-class forward, a large, physically strong, tricky, and fearless player. In addition to his eye for goal and strong and precise striking ability, he was famous for his vision, passing, insight, quick-thinking, and playmaking abilities, which often saw him score from stunning shots and volleys. Throughout his career, he mostly played an open, creative role between the midfield and forward lines, serving as a deep-lying forward behind the target man, because of his willingness to drop deep into midfield to recover the ball and organize attacking plays, as well as his ability to score goals and provide teammates with assistance.

Cantona, however, was also able to play as a centre-forward. He was a precise penalty and free kick taker as well. He was good in the air because of his height, physique, tactical sense, and heading precision; in addition, he was also considered to be both mentally and physically tough, and was highly respected for his strong, controlling, and charismatic personality, as well as his leadership and courage, which helped relieve his teammates' pressure. Indeed, Cantona was also known during matches for authentically turning up his collar.


An important part of Eric Cantona biography is his reception among pundits. In 2002, Cantona was an inaugural entrant to the English Football Hall of Fame. He was named the Overseas Player of the Decade at the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards in 2003. He was named one of the world's greatest living players by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list in 2004.

Goal Celebration

Throughout his career, Eric Cantona had many goal celebrations, but there is one celebration that we can never forget. Against Sunderland, after scoring a phenomenal chip goal, Cantona slowly turned 360 degrees, looking into every corner of the Old Trafford stands, not moving from the spot, a picture of calm as United supporters toasted a genuinely unique objective. If there is a moment to characterize the coolness of the Frenchman, this was it.

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Eric Cantona Outside Football

An interesting fact about

Eric Cantona life story

is that, he concentrated mostly as an actor in French cinema in his later career, having had his first role as a rugby player in Le bonheur est dans le pré, shot during his 1995 football suspension. After his retirement, Cantona started an acting career, appearing in French and English films, including Elizabeth (1998), a drama starring Cate Blanchett, and Searching for Eric (2009), It tells the tale of a fan of Manchester United who gets life lessons from an informative Cantona, who appears as a hallucination. In the book Cantona on Cantona, Cantona's personal philosophy was articulated (1996; cowritten with Alex Flynn).

In 2010, he starred in Face au Paradis, a play directed by his wife, Rachida Brakni, as a stage actor. Cantona also took an interest in the sport of beach soccer, and he won the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as a player-manager of the French national team.

In advertisements for the sportswear company Nike, Cantona has regularly featured. In 1994, in front of the English flag, he participated in a Nike advertising campaign featuring a black and white image of himself, with the caption: "'66 was a great year for English football. Eric was born."

In a gladiatorial game set in a Roman amphitheatre in 1996, he was the central figure in a Nike ad named "Good vs Evil". Besides football stars from around the world, including Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Luís Figo, Patrick Kluivert and Jorge Campos, they defend "the beautiful game" against a squad of demonic warriors, that ends with Cantona receiving Ronaldo's pass, pulling up his shirt collar as his signature move, and delivering the final line, "Au Revoir" before hitting the ball that hits the demon goalkeeper right through it.

On 18 January 2011, The New York Cosmos announced the Frenchman's return to football as their Director of Soccer. Cantona explained his position to the press when he arrived to assist Cosmos "regain the number one position in the United States and then... to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years." After a dispute with a photographer, Cantona was later fired by the club, and he prosecuted the Cosmos in May 2015 for almost $1 million in back pay and a guaranteed 4 percent stake in the company. The Cosmos denied his arguments, maintaining that his role as Soccer Director was essentially ceremonial, and that the real job of Cantona was as "a promoter and brand ambassador". The two sides eventually decided to reject the complaint, although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Eric Cantona Personal Life

An important aspect of

Eric Cantona biography

is his personal life. Cantona likes to play his personal life pretty close to the chest. However, we managed to collect some data about Eric Cantona personal life.

Family, Children and Relationships

When reading

Eric Cantona biography

, it is important to know about his family. In 1987, Cantona married Isabelle Ferrer, and before divorcing in 2003, they had two children together. In 2007, he married the actress Rachida Brakni; they also have two children.

The brother of Cantona, Joël, is also a former footballer who retired at a young age and started acting. Sacha Opinel, his cousin, is also a soccer player.


For those players too afraid or apathetic to openly help a cause, Cantona flips on the spotlight. He is the first 'mentor' to the non-profit Common Goal, which allows the moneymakers of football to pledge to football-based NGOs 1% of their wages or earnings.

The 1 percent mechanism is a simple idea that can, in theory, unite the global game, provide a solution for players who have taken an interest in the philosophy of charity but do not have the money to start their own. The organization is open to players, owners, sponsors, agents and companies.

In addition, the money is spent on causes that are relatively apolitical and risk-free for respectable footballers.

Among 133 more players and managers, headline names including Juan Mata and Megan Rapinoe have already pledged.

Cantona is a little bit of a gift as the project spokesperson.

Legal Issues

He was involved in an incident on 25 January 1995 that received worldwide attention and uproar. Cantona was sent off by the referee for kicking Palace defender Richard Shaw in an away match against Crystal Palace after Shaw had annoyed Cantona during the game by marking him closely. Cantona launched a 'kung-fu' style kick into the crowd as he was heading into the tunnel, targeted at the Crystal Palace fan, Matthew Simmons, a fan who had run down 11 rows of stairs to taunt and yell abuse at Cantona. With a series of punches, Cantona followed the blow. A long ban on the game was deemed unavoidable, with some commentators calling for Cantona to be exiled and never permitted to play football again in England, while others called for him to be banned for life from football.

Cantona was also presented with a criminal charge of assault, which he accepted on 23 March, in addition to disciplinary action by his club and the FA, resulting in a two-week jail term, but he was released on bail pending an appeal. This was reversed a week later in the appeal court and instead he was sentenced to 120 hours of community service spent teaching youth at Manchester United training ground. The FA then extended the suspension to eight months and fined him a further £ 10,000 (up to and including 30 September 1995). FIFA then announced the suspension as a worldwide one, meaning that by being traded or loaned to a foreign club, Cantona could not avoid the ban.

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Eric Cantona Career Statistics

Cantona has played an overall of 484 caps, in both club and international level. Of course, a player in his caliber should have played a whole lot more games, but his constant confrontations and suspensions made him resign at the age of 30.


Cantona has made 439 caps at the club level, scoring a total number of 165 goals. He scored 82 goals for Manchester United, thus submitting the highest record for clubs he played for. Cantona made a true impact at Manchester United, scoring almost every 2.25 games, while this figure was every 2.50 games for his reign at Leeds United.


Cantona has played 45 caps at the international level, scoring a total number of 20 goals. Cantona failed to play at important tournaments such as Euro 96. he was unlucky as well, since France failed to qualify for 1994 FIFA World Cup.   

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Eric Cantona Honors

When people read Eric Cantona biography, one of the things they want to know aboutCantona was one of the players who won several trophies, both at individual and team level. Having won a total of 43 trophies at club, international and individual level, Cantona made great impacts, yet only playing for a short period of time. Had he played longer and with more concentration on his football instead of controversies, he would have won much more awards.


Cantona won 5 EPL titles, four of which was at his reign at Manchester United, while the remaining one was at Leeds United. With Marseilles, he won 2 Division 1 titles. Overall, Cantona won 15 titles at club level.


At international level, Cantona only has one title to his name, and that is UEFA European Under-21 Championship.


Cantona has won 27 individual awards, including and not limited to FIFA 100 Greatest Living Footballers, Overseas Player of the Decade, and Golden Foot Legends Award.

That's all on our article of Eric Cantona Biography. Do you have any other information to be added to this list? Let us know in the comment section.




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