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Cantona: They were the best years of my life

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Old Trafford.

Saturday 26 November 2022 14:21

On this day 30 years ago, Eric Cantona signed for Manchester United.

Few would have foreseen the impact that the Frenchman would have, and the adoration that we hold for him today.

‘The King’ transformed United and the Premier League permanently, and he truly epitomised everything that our no.7 shirt stands for.

As we celebrate 30 years to the day since Eric’s transfer to the Reds from Leeds, enjoy this exclusive interview with the legendary attacker, where he reveals that Manchester United will always have a special place in his heart…

The day United’s fortunes changed Video

The day United’s fortunes changed

“The French and Scots have great, old alliances if you know your history,” says Sir Alex, in our classic Cantona film…

Firstly Eric, it’s 30 years since you signed for Manchester United – how does that feel? Has it gone quickly or does it feel like it was only yesterday?

“It feels like yesterday, yes. The date I have more in my mind is from when I retired from football so in my mind it’s 25 years already, but when I signed 30 years ago I realise that time goes so fast. So fast for everybody.

“We have to take care of our friends and family and tell them that we love them while there is still time so I will take this opportunity to tell everybody in Manchester that I love them.”

Everyone in Manchester feels the same way about you. If you had a further message for the fans what would it be? They still love you so much and sing your name and presumably that still means a lot to you?

“Yes it means a lot. It’s like a family at United and, for me, it’s like when you have a great friend and even though you might not see them too much and you’re a bit far away, you still feel close to their heart and I hope they still feel close to my heart too.”

Eric Cantona says

“We have to take care of our friends and family and tell them that we love them while there is still time so I will take this opportunity to tell everybody in Manchester that I love them.”

Can you remember how you felt on the day that you signed 30 years ago?

“When I signed we had just been champions with Leeds, but I hadn’t been in England very long, I hadn’t even been there a year. I arrived at the start of the year [1992] and I signed for United in November. I knew that I had arrived at a great club and knew that a lot great players had played for the club.

“I had everything to prove and sometimes for some players to play at a great club they can feel paralysed, you know, they don’t play at that level because they feel too much pressure. But when I arrived in Manchester everyone gave me the confidence I needed to express myself and I was very lucky to play alongside wonderful players and play for Alex Ferguson who gave me this confidence.

“It was all enjoyment for me, I didn’t feel any pressure. I just had the pressure that we all need in order to express yourself and to enjoy it, and I did that.”

Eric Cantona says

“What I am today is because of my parents, my family, my best friends and because of the time I had in Manchester with everybody. With the players, with everyone who worked for the club, with Sir Alex and with the fans… everyone. I feel that the human being I am today is because of all the great experiences I have had in my life and the time I had in Manchester were maybe the best years of my life.”

How would you summarise what positives and what impact Manchester United made on you from when you joined to now?

“The time I had in Manchester was a great time for me. I will always look back on it with family and friends and it was a kind of education for me, you know. What I am today is because of my parents, my family, my best friends and because of the time I had in Manchester with everybody.

“With the players, with everyone who worked for the club, with Sir Alex and with the fans… everyone. I feel that the human being I am today is because of all the great experiences I have had in my life and the time I had in Manchester were maybe the best years of my life. It was so wonderful, so intense and so great.

“Fortunately today I do things that I am passionate about because it’s very, very difficult when you stop your career. But I have all these wonderful and unbelievable memories of my time in Manchester that I will never forget.”

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Old Trafford.

Saturday 26 November 2022 14:21

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Jacky

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