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Eric Cantona teases Manchester United return: 'With Jim Ratcliffe I think we come back at the best'

Eric Cantona has hinted he might return to Manchester United in a role under the club’s part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Eric Cantona at Manchester United. Credit: Alamy

Eric Cantona has hinted he might return to Manchester United in a role under the club’s new part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

In an exclusive interview in this week’s Big Issue, the footballing legend said that his former club remains “full in [his] heart” – and implied that he might return to Old Trafford one day.

“I am involved in too many things I really love to be manager. In everything I do I work hard to give 100% so that I am able to have the confidence and to enjoy,” he said. “So I don’t have the time to be manager. But maybe something else…” 

“For sure with Jim Ratcliffe I think we come back at the best. The way you drive the club is important. Ratcliffe, who is a fan of United since ever, is a great businessman of course, but is also very passionate about sport.” 

Over four and a half seasons with United, Cantona won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He retired as a player in 1997.

He doesn’t regret stopping when he did. Asked whether he’d have been tempted to see out his career in Saudi Arabia, had it been around during his playing days, Cantona is firm.

“No. NO! When I finished my career I was only 30 years old,” he said. “When I lost the passion I decided to retire. I could have played five or seven more years. I never played football for money. I would have paid a lot of money to play for Manchester United.  

“Going to Saudi Arabia we can’t speak about passion of football. Just passion for making money. For old players, OK but for some players, maybe 30 years old, they’re not passionate about football, it’s better to retire. If you decide to go to Saudi Arabia, that is just money.” 

Cantona has given the rare interview ahead of the release of his live album, Cantona Sings Eric, on 29 March.  

Since retiring from the game, Cantona has turned his hand to many things, making around 30 films and experimenting with art and poetry. 

“I always knew that I will do something in art, any kind of arts, painting, photography, acting. Music, yeah, music is the last one,” he said. “Since I retired from football I never had time to be bored because by now I have been involved in maybe 30 movies or TV series.” 

“Music, it’s the closest thing to the excitement we can have when we play football. Music touches you. Every one of us. I don’t think it’s a human being that creates music. Music is a part of a human being. See a kid two years old and they start walking, they hear music and they start to dance. They never learned music. The music is something special.” 

To read more, buy this week’s Big Issue. You can find your local vendor here.

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