Eric Cantona, former Manchester United and France legend, will be honoured with the UEFA President’s award at the Champions League during the UEFA Champions League draws in Monaco on Thursday.
The freshman joins the list of prestigious footballers who have earned that title, including Johann Cruyff, Alfredo Di Stefano and Eusebio.
The 53-year-old, who won five English championships with Leeds and Manchester United in the 1990s and two French titles with Marseille, becomes the third Manchester United legend to be honoured with the same award, after Sir Bobby Charlton in 2008 and David Beckham in 2018.
The UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, has explained the reason for the decision to give Cantona the illustrious award.
“This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre, but also honours him for the person he is, man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in,” he said.
Cantona started his professional footballing career, which was has been marred by controversies, in 1983 with Auxerre in the French Ligue 1. In 1988, Cantona was temporarily suspended from the France national squad for calling his team manager, Henri Michel, a “bag of shit”. Later on in 1995, he was banned from football for eight months and stripped of the France captaincy, following an attack on a Crystal Palace supporter who was jeering him. He made 45 appearances for France.
Since retiring, Cantona has turned to acting. He couldn't take a coaching job because of his notorious temper and anger, so he started acting and is best known for his role in Ken Loach’s quirky 2009 comedy-drama, "Looking for Eric", which was later nominated for a Palme d’Or award in France.