Eric Cantona to return to Old Trafford

Image copyright Unicef

Manchester United and France legend Eric Cantona is to return to Old Trafford in June.

He’ll be playing at Manchester United’s stadium as part of the Soccer Aid charity football match for Unicef.

The 51-year-old says: “There is no place like home. Knowing I am coming back to Old Trafford is a special feeling.”

He joins a host of famous faces including Usain Bolt, Sir Mo Farah, Olly Murs and Gordon Ramsay.

Image copyright Unicef
Image caption Cantona has played on the hallowed turf since he left in 1997 – back in 2001, at Ryan Giggs’ testimonial.

Footballing giant Cantona will play for a World XI made up of ex-footballers and celebs, captained by Usain Bolt. It will be the first time he’s played there since 2001.

“I am coming back to make the June 10 match the best ever and I want you to join me,” says the Frenchman.

“Let’s make history together at Old Trafford again one last time.”

He’ll face an England team captained by Soccer Aid co-founder Robbie Williams.

Image copyright Unicef
Image caption Sir Mo and Usain Bolt will go head to head in June

Cantona will join other ex-Man Utd stars playing at their famous ground including England Women boss Phil Neville and Edwin van der Sar.

Other players for the World XI include Yaya Toure, Clarence Seedorf, Robert Pires, Jaap Stam and Patrick Kluivert.

They’ll face the likes of David Seaman, Jamie Redknapp, Danny Murphy and Robbie Fowler for the England XI.

Will Ferrell, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Jack Whitehall are just a few of the celebs to have taken part in the charity match in the past.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Cantona’s kung-fu kick earned him an eight-month ban from football which meant he never played for France again

The enigmatic Cantona – who signed for £1.2m in 1992 – scored 64 goals in 143 league games for Manchester United, winning four Premier League titles and two FA cups in five seasons there.

But the number seven was also constantly surrounded by controversy – especially when he aimed a kung-fu kick at a fan during a match.

He was banned for eight months for the incident 1995.

At a press conference afterwards, he gave arguably his most famous quote: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

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Media captionCantona’s famous ‘seagulls’ quote

Since he retired from football in 1997, Cantona has acted in movies including Elizabeth, French Film and Looking for Eric.

He’s even made the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch star-struck.

Tickets for the Soccer Aid match are priced between £10 and £50, and it will be broadcast live on ITV from 8pm BST on Sunday 10 June.

The event, which takes place every two years, has raised £24m to help children since its launch in 2006.

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Media captionCantona sent an emotional message to Manchester after last year’s Manchester Arena attack

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