How old was Eric Cantona when he retired?- Why did the Manchester United legend call it quits?

How old was Eric Cantona when he retired?- Why did the Manchester United legend call it quits?

Eric Cantona is perhaps most famous for kicking a Crystal Palace fan after he was being hurled abuses following a sending off. But he was much more than that and those who watched him play knew that he was one of the best strikers football had during that era.

But the Frenchman did not have a fairytale ending to his career. He did enjoy immense success with Manchester United but he could have achieved much more if not for his early retirement. So, how old was Eric Cantona when he retired and what does he do now?

How old was Eric Cantona when he retired?

Eric Cantona was 30 years old when he announced that he will retire from football. 1996/97 was the last season that he ever played professional football. After Steve Bruce’s departure in the summer of ’96, the France international was handed the captain’s armband.

How old was Eric Cantona when he retired?- Why did the Manchester United legend call it quits?
How old was Eric Cantona when he retired?- Why did the Manchester United legend call it quits at such an early age? (Image: Sky Sports)

He was a regular in Alex Ferguson’s lineup and led United to defending the PL crown. But he called it quits after that, and fans were told of it in May of 1997. But according to Sir Alex Ferguson, he knew about the decision beforehand- a month prior to the decision being made public, when Man United were playing Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Why did Eric Cantona retire at 30?

Some of the best ever footballers who have called it quits at an early age from football, such as Marco van Basten, did so because of injuries or fitness issues. In Cantona’s case, it was a bit different.

Eric Cantona claims he retired from football because, well, he was bored of it. That’s the most Cantona-esque reason there could be. But the Frenchman claimed in an interview a few years back that he announced his shocking decision to retire from football in 1997 because he had no ‘passion’ left for the game.

“I didn’t feel the passion for the game. To play at the highest level, you have to be very careful about what you eat, what you drink, what time you go to bed, what you think. You have to be concentrated on the game.”

 Why did Eric Cantona retire at 30? The real reason behind his retirement. (Image: GQ)
Why did Eric Cantona retire at 30? The real reason behind his retirement. (Image: GQ)

“Secondly, to do that, you need the passion. If you lose a bit of passion, you lose a bit of something else and that means you can’t play at the highest level. Passion helps you improve yourself, but when you lose that, you can’t improve yourself anymore and I loved that feeling that I was improving while playing.”

Well, now you know. If only we saw more of Cantona, he could have done well to win the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998 or the UEFA Euros in 2000. But it was never meant to be.

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