Eric Cantona: His Manchester United Career In A Nutshell

27 November 2012 11:36

Eric Cantona: His Manchester United Career In A Nutshell.

It was exactly 20 years ago that Eric Cantona joined Manchester United from deadly rivals Leeds, having helped the Whites win the last Football League title before the Premier League came into being.

Here we take a look back at the United career of one of the most talented, charismatic and controversial characters our game has ever seen. Take a bow the man voted the greatest ever Manchester United player by Inside United magazine.

One thing’s for sure, there was never a full moment when ‘Eric Le Roi’ was in his pomp at Old Trafford. Check out a few of his highlights

1. Cantona made his first appearance for United in a friendly against Benfica in Lisbon to mark Eusébio's 50th birthday. He made his competitive debut as a second half substitute against Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 6, 1992, wearing the number 12 shirt.

2. His first United goal came in a 1–1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on December 19,1992, and his second came on Boxing Day in a 3–3 draw against Sheffield Wednesday who he almost joined after leaving France

3. Controversy was never far away, and on his return to Elland Road to play Leeds a few weeks later, he spat at a fan and was fined £1,000 by the Football Association

4. In Cantona's first season at Old Trafford, United won the inaugural Premier League by ten points – winning the title for the first time since 1967. In doing so, he became the first player to win back-to-back English top division titles with different clubs

5. United retained the Premier League in 1994, and Cantona's two penalties helped them to a 4–0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. He was also voted PFA Player of the Year for that season.

6.On January 25, 1995 he was involved in an incident which attracted headlines and controversy worldwide. In an away match at Selhurst Park, Cantona was sent off for kicking Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw after Shaw had pulled his shirt. As he was walking towards the tunnel, Cantona launched a 'kung-fu' style kick into the crowd, directed at Palace fan Matthew Simmons. He was suspended for eight months and the courts sentenced him to120 hours Community service.

7. In his comeback game against Liverpool on October 1, 1995, Cantona set up a goal for Nicky Butt two minutes into the game, and then scored a penalty after Ryan Giggs was fouled.

8. Cantona helped United overturn a ten-point lead by Newcastle to win their third league title in four season. He also scored the winning goal, as captain, in the FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool. He became the first player from outside the British Isles to lift the FA Cup as skipper.

9. Cantona was confirmed as United's captain for the 1996–97 season and led the team to another league title – his fourth in five years with the Manchester club. At the end of the season he announced that he was retiring from football at the age of 30; his final competitive game coming against West Ham on May 11, 1997.

10. Cantona scored a total of 64 league goals for Manchester United, 11 in domestic cup competitions, and five in the Champions League, bringing his tally to 80 goals in less than five years.

What was your favourite Cantona moment from his topsy-turvy time at Old Trafford? 

Source: DSG