How Eric CANTONA leaved France and crossed the channel in 1992 ? The answer of this question with the Top Five of the worst of CANTONA in his country. This Top Five is in a chronological order.
1-Auxerre 1987-88, CANTONA learned Kung-fu
Eric CANTONA started his carreer at AJ Auxerre and making his debut on 5 November 1983, in a 4–0 league victory over Nancy. In 1984 his footballing career was put on hold as he carried out his national service. After his discharge he was loaned out to Martigues in the French Second Division before rejoining Auxerre and signing a professional contract in 1986. His performances in the First Division were good enough to earn him his first full international cap when barely in his twenties. However, his disciplinary problems began in 1987 when he was fined for punching team mate Bruno Martini (The new french national goalkeeper) in the face. But his first huge off-road was during the next season (1987-88) with a dangerous tackle on Nantes player Michel Der Zakarian, resulting in a three-month suspension. Have a look of this tackle, some years before his intervention with a very loyal fan of Crystal Palace :
2-France national team 1988-89, CANTONA referred to national manageras a "bag of shit"
Cantona was given his full international début against West Germany in August 1987 by national team manager Henri Michel. In September 1988, angered after being dropped from the national team, Cantona referred to Michel as a "bag of shit" in a post-match TV interview and was indefinitely banned from all international matches. All the story is here but I'm sorry is in french : « Le jour où CANTONAtraita le sélectionneur de sac à merde ». CANTONA said that he will never play for France until Henri Michel will the national manager. Hopefully for CANTONA, Henri Michel was sacked shortly after that having failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup. New national manager was Michel Platini who wanted CANTONA in his team and he formed the duo Cantona-Papin in 1989 (Suède-France 1989, lanaissance du tandem Papin Cantona). But this is a other story, here it comes the video when CANTONA referred to national manageras a "bag of shit" and the answer of Henri Michel :
3-Marseille 1988-89, CANTONA ripped off and threw away his Marseille's shirt
In summer 1988, CANTONA transfered to Marseille for a French record fee. Eric CANTONA was born in Marseille and had grown up as a Marseille fan. For him it's a dream which became true but shortly the dream will be a nightmare. In January 1989 during a friendly game against Torpedo Moscow he kicked the ball at the crowd, then ripped off and threw away his shirt after being substituted. His club and his boss, Bernard Tapie (who was so furious aganist him) responded by banning him for a month. But CANTONA disapeared after this event and nobody knows where he is. Some days later we learned that he was at Barcelona and Marseille negociated a transfer. The transfer never happened because at this time Barcelona's manager, legend Johan Cruyff was sure to sign the following season the ducth striker, Marco Van Basten (Lejour où CANTONA aurait du signer au Barça).... For Cantona the end of the season was a loan of bordeaux but not the end of his trouble. The video when he ripped off and threw away his Marseille's shirt :
4-Bordeaux 1988-89, CANTONA missed the most important penalty of the year for his club
In january, after the last accident, CANTONA moved to Bordeaux on a six-month loan. Bordeaux was the greatest team in France in the 80's but the season 1988-89 was the worst of the decade for the club. Lost in the national league, they were eliminated in Europa Cup before the winter and the only way to save their season was to win the France Cup. Bordeaux in that competition faced off Beauveais (a French Second Division squad) in February 1989. Despite Bordeaux was in crisis since the top of the 1989 year they must won this game versus a easy opponent. But the Girondins of Bordeaux made a very disapointed game and they finished with a poor and sad nil-nil. It was the time of a ruthless penalty shoutout exercice. Eric CANTONA was the last shooter of his team but just before one of his teammate missed his attempt. CANTONA must scored if Bordeaux would stay alive for an european qualification. CANTONA was cool may be too. He taked the ball and he juggled with hit before to put it on the penalty mark. Then he kicked so slowly the ball that the goalie could turn back and stopped it so easy that it was ridiculous ! The video of this penalty of the shame and the draw in national press.
5-Nîmes 1991, CANTONA threw the ball at the referee
After his loan to Bordeaux, he went to Montpellier on a year-long loan. Then for the 1990-91 season, CANTONA back at Marseille, Cantona initially played well under coach Gerard Gili and his successor Franz Beckenbauer. However, the Marseille chairman Bernard Tapie was not satisfied with the results, and replaced Beckenbauer with Raymond Goethals. Then the problem at Marseille was the team was made by Bernard Tapie and not the manager. As Philippe Vercruysse (Cantona's teamate at Marseille beetween 1988 and 1991) said to Old School Panin in a exclusiveinterview in 2010 about a Champions League game at Sofia in Bulgaria : « Just before the game, Tapie went to the locker room and when he saw on the board the started team, he erased some players names and write his personnal choice instead of ». Vercruysse said after that « some men like Beckenbauer or Cantona with strong temper coudln't accept and they leaved Marseille ». So Cantona went to Nîmes for the 1991-92 season, but he wasn't happy and he said to his french national teammates that he would stopped his career at 25 years old ! And the last accident in France arrived few weeks after this divulgation. In December 1991, during a match for Nîmes he threw the ball at the referee, having been angered by one of his decisions. He was summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the French Football Federation and was banned for one month. Cantona responded by walking up to each member of the hearing committee in turn and calling him an idiot. His ban was increased to two months, and Cantona subsequently announced his retirement from football on 16 December 1991. The video of this agression of the french referee :
The French national team coach Michel Platini was a fan of Cantona, and persuaded him to make a comeback. On the advice of Gérard Houllier as well as his psychoanalyst, he moved to England to restart his career, « He [my psychoanalyst] advised me not to sign for Marseille and recommended that I should go to England » That was the way of Cantona to cross the channel for a great story in Premier League but always with trouble...Cantona will be always cantona !