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Birth 24 may 1966 (57 years)Éric Daniel Pierre Cantona ([e'ʁik kɑ̃to'na]; born 24 May 1966) is a French actor and former international footballer for the French national team. 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.
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 he enjoys iconic status at the club. He wore the number 7 shirt at Manchester United with his trademark upturned collar. Cantona is affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United fans as "King Eric", and was voted as Manchester United'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 a 'kung-fu' assault on a fan, and at a press conference following his initial conviction Cantona gave his famous "seagulls" statement. His disciplinary record, however, was much improved after he returned from the eight-month suspension right up to his retirement as a player two years later.
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 débuted as a stage actor in Face au Paradis, a French play directed by his wife, Rachida Brakni.
An inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002, the museum states: "The enigmatic Frenchman was one of the Premier League's most controversial players ever". On 19 January 2011, Cantona joined the revived New York Cosmos as Director of Soccer.