5 legends who defined the clubs that they played for

Modified 01 Apr 2020
Top 5 / Top 10

#3 Eric Cantona (Manchester United, 1992 to 1997)

Eric Cantona of Manchester United

While he only starred for Manchester United for a brief period, five seasons before his shock retirement in the year 1997, no United player had quite as much impact on the club and the English Premier League in general as ‘King Cantona’.

His arrival signalled the beginning of United’s dominance in the 1990s, as he guided them to win the inaugural Premier League title and then three more leagues wins, as well as two FA Cups, but his influence at Old Trafford went beyond trophies.

Prior to Cantona’s rise to superstardom at United, foreign players, particularly flair players, were widely mistrusted in the English game. But it was the French star who opened the floodgates and helped the likes of Bergkamp, Zola and Klinsmann to succeed in the Premier League era.

He was involved in some unpalatable incidents during his time at the Manchester club, most notably the infamous kung-fu kick that saw him sidelined for most of 1994/95. However, off the pitch, he was a stupendous role model for the younger players like Beckham and Scholes, who have stated that they understood about true discipline by observing Cantona practising alone on the training ground for hours after all his teammates had left.

One cant forget his performance in the 1995/96 season when he virtually single-handedly wrestled the Premier League title away from Newcastle United's grasp to return it to the Old Trafford outfit. It remains probably the greatest achievement from an individual player in the Premier League era.

Nobody had the kind of impact that Eric Cantona did on a club and most likely nobody ever will again. 

Published 26 May 2018, 21:49 IST
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