Magnum opus | From Charlton to Cantona, book charts a Devilish history

Cantona (right) and costar Rachida Brakni in L’Outremangeur. (Copyright © Arnaud Borrel | TFM Distribution)

We do not know if the authoritative opus will reflect these views, but, as an addendum to comments on the book, former United star Eric Cantona has also been in the news to claim his place in the team’s story (David Walsh, “In the Court of King Cantona,” The Sunday Times Magazine, 10 Dec 06). He became another installment in the team’s episodic “rise from the ashes,” helping United, in 1992, to its first league championship since the Charlton years. He would leave in 1997 but certainly made an impression, United winning four Premiership titles and Cantona demonstrating continental flair and eccentricity, earning an eight-month ban for charging the stands to karate-kick a fan at Crystal Palace.

Walsh’s profile describes the 40-year-old pursuing passions of beach football, acting and photography. The Opus will include five of Cantona’s self-portraits. In spite of the “shadow” that follows him from a footballing life, Cantona has earned plaudits for his cinematic work, in particular for the lead role in the 2003 French film L’Outremangeur (The Overeater). Cantona gained nearly 30 lbs to play the part of a police inspector, Richard Séléna, suffering from bulimia; his pact with a female murderer mandates that she dine with him for one year, to keep her freedom.

Cantona’s father was a painter and passed on this creative passion. Says the son:

My dream was to live in the world of creation. In football I did that; now I have other opportunities to do that. The only thing I fear is death.

Sometimes when I take a flight I am a little afraid, because we can die in a plane crash very quickly.

After several minutes of thought, he signs a Manchester United jersey with the words “Ne jamais perdre sa passion!” (Never lose your passion).

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