Eric Cantona: A Man for All Seasons

by Ebun Olaloye | | 0 comments

Editor's Note: This is the second of a 3 part series by Travis highlighting the rebels in our 40 Years of Rebellion collection. eric cantona It would be an incredible disservice to describe Eric Cantona just as a football player, not only to him but to football as it would place too much pressure on a sport alone. Some players are less athletes and more artists in search of a medium, individuals who if they were not on the field, would undoubtly succeed at another medium. Nobody embodied such a range of artistic expression—not limited to sport—as quite as Eric (Maybe Socrates). Shakespeare was so devastatingly right when he said ““My crown is in my heart, not on my head; not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is called content, a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.” While there was never a formal crown on his head, no one could deny the royalty of Eric Cantona, who according to Sir Alex Ferguson “swaggered in, stuck his chest out, raises his head and surveyed everything as though he were asking "I'm Cantona, how big are you? Are you big enough for me?” on his first appearance in Old Trafford. In the Theatre of Dreams, he was the Laurence Olivier of the pitch. His performances so renowned and etched into hearts to the point that there comes a flooding of images and emotion when one mentions THAT goal against Sunderland. The goal while amazing comes up short to the aftermath, as he turned around, surveyed the crowd and his teammates—his chest out—before raising his hands like a victorious gladiator. eric-cantona-arms-outstretched An artist, a king and a rebel of norms, the French king threw dust in the face of those who are lazy enough to believe that footballers cannot be thinking creatures. A philosopher in his own right, a man, according to Andy Cole that Ferguson never had a go at, even after turning up to a film premiere—where the players were ordered to wear black ties—in a cream lemon suit and Nike trainers. The manager would go on to tell him that he looked fantastic, the same manager known to have cut pieces off the marble statue-esque face of David Beckham. eric cantona Such a rebel that when he lost his passion--which he seemed to have an unlimited amount of-- he decided to retire from football at the age of 30. For many players, such a thing is as scary as the thought of death; a game that you have played your whole life, your life blood, to give that up so early would be to divide your own spirit. The thought of the uncertain future would be too daunting for most, but not for Eric, a man too confident in himself to be shaken by the prospect of difficult times or unforeseen challenges. He would move on to film, appearing in such films as ‘Finding Eric’, ‘Elizabeth’, and as Thierry Grimandi in ‘French Film. Apposing takeovers and banking systems, video games, leading the Joga Bonito movement, doing spoken word for the French rock band Dionysos, coaching and succeeding in beach football and becoming the Director of Soccer for the newly resurrected New York Cosmos. Cantona will succeed in whatever he does because he is not limited by that particular thing, his passion and his attitude are his only restrictions. There is no season or age limit for that. “I'm so proud the fans still sing my name, but I fear tomorrow they will stop. I fear it because I love it. And everything you love, you fear you will lose.” Travis writes for Surreal Football . You can follow him on twitter @Zitov2