1966 was a great year for English football.
Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup at Wembley, Liverpool and Everton won the league and FA Cup respectively and a certain Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona was born to a painter and dressmaker couple living in Marseille.
And though Manchester United fans would have to wait for their saviour to arrive – he made his competitive debut at Old Trafford in a derby encounter with Manchester City in December 1992 – it proved to be worth it.
A four-time Premier League title winner, with a further two FA Cup titles to his name (he scored in both finals) Cantona retired from the game at the age of 30 in 1997 and with his legendary status well and truly assured.
Now, as Cantona turns 50, Loaded looks back at 50 of his most bonkers/brilliant comments from seasons gone by.
“When you arrive in England for football it’s a paradise.”
“It’s my country but I don’t want to know about France – I was born there but I feel English.”
“I observe the world and the people surrounding me.”
“I don’t need to be involved with a game watched by millions of people to be fulfilled.”
“When times are difficult, I tell myself, ‘I’m just passing through.”
“I apologize for nothing.”
“I know that I have a face, a look, people aren’t used to seeing. A presence.”
“The French have only negative things to say about everything and everyone.”
“I like to stay at home and make cinema in my head.”
“I don’t take life so seriously… I can just play with life.”
“You need a particular talent only to want to please. I don’t have this talent.”
“We all seem to be about aggression and greed. It’s a massive pressure that affects us all.”
“If someone is too perfect they won’t look good. Imperfection is important.”
“Children go where they find sincerity and authenticity.”
“We can be eaten by techniques and forget what we have inside of us.”
“It is enjoyable to make things visible which are invisible.”
“In football you have an adversary; in cinema that adversary is yourself.”
“I’m proud of what I achieved there, but a life built on memories is not much of a life.”
“My ancestors were fighters, something I have inherited.”
“You can feel very quickly as a prisoner of your past, of the memories.”
“Manchester United is stronger than anybody in the world.”
“Sometimes you surprise the goalkeeper and sometimes the goalkeeper surprises you. In my career, I tried to do more of the first than the second.”
“I have to wear clothes but I don’t like to give an idea of what I am with clothes.”
“On sand, you can never be sure of anything.”
“I live to feel myself in danger.”
“If you have only one passion in life – football – and you pursue it to the exclusion of everything else, it becomes very dangerous. When you stop doing this activity it is as though you are dying. The death of that activity is a death in itself.”
“He who has regrets cannot look at himself in the mirror.”
“I am searching for abstract ways of expressing reality, abstract forms that will enlighten my own mystery.”
“I see the world become so uniform. Everybody has to be the same. I like people who are different.”
“Some people need to stay at the top. They are afraid to re-start from zero because they fear the critics.”
“I’m never bored.”
“Deschamps gets by because he always gives 100 per cent, but he will never be anything more than a water carrier.”
“Sometimes in life one experiences an emotion which is so strong that it is difficult to think, or to reason.”
“I don’t want to be in Terminator. I don’t want to be in Hollywood.”
“Sac à Merde”
“I try to find different ways of expressing myself. Without that I will die.”
“I am not a man, I am Cantona”
“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.”
“We all have common frailties but we need to treasure friends more.”
“After his first training session in heaven, George Best, from the favourite right wing, turned the head of God who was filling in at left back.”
“I stopped playing football because I’d done as much as I could. I needed something which was going to excite me as much as football had excited me.”
“For me, I don’t like it when there is too much interference in our lives. We’re not children. It is our own life in our hands.”
“Sometimes in life one experiences an emotion which is so strong that it is difficult to think, or to reason.
Sometimes you get submerged by emotion. I think it’s very important to express it – which doesn’t necessarily mean hitting someone.”
“The pressure people put on themselves and the rivalry between the teams is much more marked. And I think that’s a good thing. As long as that rivalry remains within the spirit of competition, it can only spur everyone on.”
“The revolution is really easy to do these days. What’s the system? The system is built on the power of the banks. So it must be destroyed through the banks. A real revolution”
“I prefer to play and lose rather than win, because I know in advance I’m going to win.”
“We knew that you don’t get to be world champions without a struggle.”
“Often there are players who have only football as a way of expressing themselves and never develop other interests. And when they no longer play football, they no longer do anything; they no longer exist, or rather they have the sensation of no longer existing.”
“My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan.”
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.