Friday, May 24, 2013

24 May 1966 - Long Live The King

On 24 May 1966, forward Eric Cantona was born in Marseille. He went on to become one of Manchester United's greatest and most iconic players.

He made his professional debut in November 1983 with Auxerre. He got off to a slow start, including a loan spell and a break for national service, but began to show signs of his future prowess in his last two seasons there, scoring  25 goals in 79 appearances. That led to a high-priced move to Marseille in 1988, followed by short spells with NĂ®mes (1991) and Leeds United (1992).

Manchester United came calling in 1992, signing him for £1.2M. He scored only 9 times in that first season, but was instrumental in helping United claim the inaugural Premier League title, their first league championship since 1967. The following season, he delivered 25 goals across all competitions as United claimed a league and FA Cup double, earning the nickname "King Eric" from United's supporters.

Before he retired in 1997, he added another Double (1996) and a fourth league title (1997). But his time at Old Trafford was not free from controversy. One of the most notable incidents occurred in January 1995, during an away match against Crystal Palace, when he leapt into the stands to kick one of the home supporters. He received a suspension for the rest of the season and a fine of £20,000, plus a sentence of 120 hours of community service.

Since his retirement, he has spent time acting and, most recently, joined the revived New York Cosmos as Director of Soccer.

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