Eric Cantona, the ex-Manchester United player known to English fans as King Eric, has said that he wants to run in this year’s presidential election in France. He is trying to gather the 500 signatures from mayors that are needed to do so, according to a report in the French newspaper Liberation.
But an editorial in the newspaper also said Cantona was applying a feint to secure his real aim — help for the poorly housed.
In his letter to city mayors dated 4 January, the 45-year-old said he was “a citizen very much aware of our times.”
He also argued that the current times offer “too-limited chances” to the young and generate “systematic” injustices.
King Eric felt obliged to speak up “at a time when our country faces difficult choices” and that the current economic uncertainty gave him “a sense of my responsibility.”
Speaking to Liberation, Cantona said he “chose the housing issue as it seems to me to be essential and concerns tens of millions of people”.
“I had to act at a time when I was likely to be heard,” he added.
The presidential election will get under way in April.
As a player Cantona was known for both his genius and ill-discipline, as well as his often colourful and incomprehensible remarks. As good as he was as a player, to this day he is remembered for the kung-fu kick he launched at a Crystal Palace supporter.