Candid Cantona

20-years to the day Leeds United sanctioned the transfer of Eric Cantona to Manchester United and in the process played an unwitting part in the dynasty Sir Alex Ferguson has created at Old Trafford. To mark the occasion we document the best soundbites from football's favourite philosopher

When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea

"After his first training session in heaven, George Best, from the favourite right wing, turned the head of God who was filling in at left back."

"The revolution is really easy to do these days. What's the system? The system is built on the power of the banks. So it must be destroyed through the banks. A real revolution."

"I had a bad relationship with the manager, (Howard) Wilkinson. If I don't feel the environment is good, I don't want to be there. It's like with a woman: sometimes you can't find love, sometimes you can, but it's still not right, you want more, you want to give, you want to receive. I'm not sure that I would like to be with a woman who is like some of the chairmen I met."

Cantona's Leeds sojourn lasted just 28 games (and a title) before an exasperated Howard Wilkinson moved him on

"I'm proud of what I achieved there, but a life built on memories is not much of a life."

"I try to find different ways of expressing myself. Without that I will die."

"It is enjoyable to make things visible which are invisible."

"I'm so proud the fans still sing my name, but I fear tomorrow they will stop. I fear it because I love it. And everything you love, you fear you will lose."

"My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan. I didn't punch him strong enough. I should have punched him harder."

"I didn't study; I live."

"I prefer to play and lose rather than win, because I know in advance I'm going to win."

Cantona the catalyst

"Actually, I wanted to act even when I was still playing football."

"Even as a footballer, I was always being creative."

"I don't want to be in Terminator. I don't want to go to Hollywood."

"I stopped playing football because I'd done as much as I could. I needed something which was going to excite me as much as football had excited me."

"Deschamps gets by because he always gives 100 per cent, but he will never be anything more than a water carrier."

"I'm not sure that I would like to be with a woman who is like some of the chairmen I met."

Eric Cantona

Quotes of the week

"Often there are players who have only football as a way of expressing themselves and never develop other interests. And when they no longer play football, they no longer do anything; they no longer exist, or rather they have."

"In football you have an adversary; in cinema that adversary is yourself."

"Sometimes in life one experiences an emotion which is so strong that it is difficult to think, or to reason."

"The pressure people put on themselves and the rivalry between the teams is much more marked. And I think that's a good thing. As long as that rivalry remains within the spirit of competition, it can only spur everyone on."

"You can lose in cinema too if you don't put on a good performance."

"Sometimes you get submerged by emotion. I think it's very important to express it - which doesn't necessarily mean hitting someone."

Eric's favourite moment in football captured on that infamous night at Selhurst Park

"I am searching for abstract ways of expressing reality, abstract forms that will enlighten my own mystery."

"If you have only one passion in life - football - and you pursue it to the exclusion of everything else, it becomes very dangerous. When you stop doing this activity it is as though you are dying. The death of that activity is a death in itself."

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

Which of these is the Premier League's best ever transfer?

  • Bergkamp to Arsenal
  • Cantona to Man Utd
  • Lampard to Chelsea
  • Henry to Arsenal
  • Shearer to Newcastle
  • Drogba to Chelsea
  • Keane to Man Utd
  • Vieira to Arsenal