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Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is a French actor, director, producer, and former professional footballer.

He played for Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Leeds United before ending his career at Manchester United, where he won four Premier League titles in five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles.

He won the league championship in seven of his last eight full seasons as a professional. At international level, he played for the French national team.

  • Full name: Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona
  • Profession: French actor, director, producer
  • Born: 24 May 1966 (age 53 years), Marseille, France
  • Height: 1.88 m
  • Position: Forward
  • Number: 7 (Manchester United F.C. / Forward), 11 (FC Girondins de Bordeaux / Forward), 11 (Montpellier HSC / Forward)
  • Spouse: Rachida Brakni (m. 2007), Isabelle Ferrer (m. 1987–2003)
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About Eric Cantona

Cantona was born on 24 May 1966 in Marseille, France. He is the son of dressmaker Éléonore Raurich, and nurse and painter Albert Cantona.

His mother was Spanish and came from Barcelona, while his paternal grandfather was Italian and had emigrated to Marseille from Sardinia.

While fighting the armies of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War in 1938, Cantona’s maternal grandfather, Pere Raurich, suffered a serious injury to his liver and had to retreat to France for medical treatment with his wife; they stayed in Saint-Priest, Ardèche, before settling in Marseille.

The Cantona family home was a cave in one of the hills in the Les Caillols area of Marseille, between the city’s 11th and 12th arrondissements, and it was rumoured to have been used as a lookout post for the Wehrmacht towards the end of the Second World War.

The site was chosen in the mid-1950s by Cantona’s paternal grandmother, whose husband was a stonemason. By the time Cantona was born in 1966, the hillside cave had become little more than a room in the family’s house, which was now up to a habitable standard.

Cantona has two brothers: Jean-Marie, who is four years older, and Joël, who is 17 months younger.

Career

A large, physically strong, hard-working, and tenacious forward who combined technical skill and creativity with power and goalscoring ability.

Cantona is often regarded as having played a key role in the revival of Manchester United as a footballing force in the 1990s and having an iconic status at the club.

He wore the No. 7 shirt at Manchester United, and is known for turning up his collar. Cantona is affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United fans as “King Eric” and was voted as the team’s greatest ever player by Inside United magazine.

Set against his achievements in football was a poor disciplinary record for much of his career, including a 1995 conviction for an assault on a fan for which he received an eight-month suspension.

Following his retirement from football in 1997, he took up a career in cinema and had a role in the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, the 2008 film French Film, and the 2009 film Looking for Eric.

In 2010, he debuted as a stage actor in Face au Paradis, a play directed by his wife, Rachida Brakni.

Cantona also took an interest in the sport of beach soccer, and as player-manager of the France national team, he won the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Charismatic and outspoken, Cantona was an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

The museum states that “the enigmatic Frenchman was one of the Premier League’s most controversial players ever”.

At the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards in 2003, he was voted the Overseas Player of the Decade.

In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.