Quotes on: Eric Cantona

“He was the catalyst (for Manchester United’s domestic success). We’d been so close the season before, and he gave us that extra dimension that we’d perhaps been missing the year before, he gave us the confidence when we went out on the pitch that Eric was on our side and he was going to come up with something magical.” Ryan Giggs

“He had a massive influence on my career as a young player coming into the team. We struck up a good relationship and he ruled Old Trafford for five years. He was an unbelievable talent to play with and watch in games and training.” — Ryan Giggs

“Eric Cantona (also) brought an extra dimension (to Manchester United). Plenty of things he tried didn’t come off, but you remember the ones that did — the flicks, the outrageous lobs. He made things look easy that weren’t easy at all. Before him, we struggled to score as a team, but as soon as he arrived the goals flowed.” — Ryan Giggs

“(He gets in my all-time Manchester United side) not only because of that extraordinary ability but because he was an absolute inspiration to every young player who came into the team.” Sir Bobby Charlton

“He was a charismatic figure for the players, and was a great example and a role model for all the young players in terms of practice and preparing himself for a game. He did a fantastic job here (at Manchester United).” Sir Alex Ferguson

“If ever there was one player, anywhere in the world, that was made for Manchester United, it was Cantona. He swaggered in, stuck his chest out, raised his head and surveyed everything as though he were asking: ‘I’m Cantona. How big are you? Are you big enough for me?'” — Sir Alex Ferguson

“There were critics who argued that he (Cantona) just did not come through and deliver big performances on the major European nights. I could not go along with that entirely, because there were occasions when Eric played marvellously for us. But I do admit that there was something, perhaps a mental block, that stopped him from being the best player in the world. There was an element in his nature that seemed to prevent him from realising the full potential of his incredible gifts.” — Sir Alex Ferguson (in his first autobiography)

“I had the pleasure of playing with him for a year, and he was the perfect partner for me when I came to United. He could score, he could pass, he could see a pass that no one else did, he had the charisma. Eric was just unbelievable.” — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“In my eyes, he was responsible for the Premier League developing as quickly as it did. Everyone took to him, controversy or not. He oozed charisma and genius in equal measure, and is by far and away the best ever in the Premier League. It was an honour to have played with him.” Peter Schmeichel

“Collar up, back straight, chest stuck out, he glided into the arena as if he owned the f***ing place. Any arena, but nowhere more effectively than Old Trafford. This was his stage. He loved it, the crowd loved him.” Roy Keane

“He was the only player I saw who the manager never had a go at. We all went to a film premiere and were told to wear black ties. Eric turned up in a cream lemon suit with Nike trainers. The manager told him that he looked fantastic!” — Andy Cole

“When Cantona did come to United I knew that we’d win the title because he just had the aura and presence about him. He took the responsibility away from all of us lot. He was unbelievable, he’d come in at half past nine every morning, do his own warm-up and work on his skills, touch and his x, y and z. He was just brilliant. His goals and importance to the team make him an unbelievable player.” — Paul Ince

“Once he got to United, everything changed. It was as if he’d found the place he belonged and the stage he thought he deserved. It was Cantona’s arrival that was the key to United winning the league in 1993.” David Beckham

“Eric Cantona was special, he had an aura about him, he is the king of Old Trafford and that’s the way he should always be remembered. Eric is a great guy, a great player, one of the best players I have ever played with.” — David Beckham

“I’d give all the champagne I’ve ever drunk to be playing alongside him in a big European match at Old Trafford.” George Best

“I got the ball just outside my own area and ran towards the halfway line as Eric ran back with me. I kicked it about ten yards in front of us, thinking I’d outpace him. As I did so, Cantona moved his arm across me and goes, ‘Stay where you are,’ then ran past me and got the ball.” Rio Ferdinand (about playing for West Ham against Cantona in the final game of the 1996/97 season)

“What hasn’t already been said about Eric Cantona? A sublime player, and the guy who opened the door for so many other Frenchmen in the English championship. A player with character – the King!” — Emmanuel Petit

“Cantona had such a massive impact on United as a football club. I always remember an impudent chip against us (Southampton) at The Dell in front of the Milton Road end, before he stood there as if to say, “I am the king.” I loved his arrogance and if you’re that good, I think you can be arrogant and get away with it.” — Matt Le Tissier

“The first time I saw Eric Cantona play I said: ‘Oh, that guy is elegant.’ I didn’t watch him live during the time he was at United but I watched a lot of videos. I remember my dad and uncle were very keen on him and talked about how classy he was on the pitch. I remember seeing one chip he scored. He then stood still to celebrate, just looking around the stands.” — Morgan Schneiderlin (from an official Manchester United match programme)

“He’s a United legend because of everything he did for this club but he was so special because he had a different character. He was someone that you had to respect because of the way he was. Some people walk into a room and you say: ‘Wow, he has something special’. Eric had that – it was just inside him. Even now when he speaks and when he does an interview, you have a lot of journalists waiting for certain words or something he might say that’s different. He would say very loudly what was in his head, like that line in his press conference when he came back from his suspension – amazing!” — Morgan Schneiderlin (from an official Manchester United match programme)

“It’s hard to say why he and United went together so well, but I think United is the biggest club in the world and he was maybe then the biggest character in the world game. I think of his charisma and the way he was and I think that’s what the English people, especially the United fans, liked very much. He was honest, a class player and a very talented player as well. Eric finished his career when he was very young but will always be a legend at this football club.” — Morgan Schneiderlin (from an official Manchester United match programme)


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