Cantona: Quitting United like kicking heroin

Eric Cantona has once again left reporters dumbfounded, after comparing his decision to leave Manchester United and retire from football to quitting a heroin habit.

The Old Trafford legend is as famous for his football as his crazy comments about seagulls and trawlers following his ban for attacking Crystal Palace fan at Selhurst Park in 1995.

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Ahead of a return to Manchester for the 45-year-old, who will take his reformed New York Cosmos team to face the Red Devils for Paul Scholes’ testimonial match on Friday, he explained why his appearances at the Theatre of Dreams are few and far between.

He told GQ magazine: “If you are a heroin addict and you’ve gone through the agonies of withdrawal, you don’t go back and start hanging out with your dealer.

“It was, as I say, like quitting a Class A drug.

“Psychiatrists have demonstrated that the body of a retired professional footballer can replicate the kind of symptoms that you get with abrupt opiate withdrawal. And that’s why I’ve avoided going back.”

Recognised as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players, Cantona scored 82 goals in 185 appearances and won four league titles during his time with the Red Devils.

Since retiring from football, the Frenchman has embarked on an acting career, enjoying success in Ken Roach’s ‘Looking for Eric’, but says he struggles to watch his former team on television.

By Josh Robbins