Eric Cantona was the best player on the field during his time and probably the worst person on it too.
Anyone who thinks of this French forward will also remember his infamous Kung-Fu kick. He was no doubt a quality forward who played a major role in helping his club maintain a decade of dominance in club football. But his career was characterised by his often angry outbursts which he failed to control and hence led to one controversy after another.
In 1987, while at Auxerre, he punched his own goalkeeper and landed him a black eye for a couple of games.
A year later, on being dropped from the French squad, he called the manager of the national team "a bag of shit" in an interview watched by millions. His angry outburst resulted in his ban from international football for a year.
Then in 1991, while playing for Nimes, he threw the ball at the referee after being angered by some poor decisions. He was called before a disciplinary committee of the French Football Federation and handed a one-month ban. Not satisfied, he personally went up and insulted every memeber of the council and extended the ban from one to three months.
After arriving in England to restart his career, Cantona spent some days as a well-mannered player. But soon after joining Manchester United his original self came to the front. "King Eric" spat at Leeds fans in response to their booing him all through the match.
But the most memorable of his antics, the Kung-Fu kick, happened on 25th January, 1995 in United's match against Crystal Palace. After being sent off during the match, as he made his way back to the tunnel he faced a storm of racial abuses from a Palace fan. Mathhew Simmons then faced something he would not have ever dreamt of: Cantona entered the stands and launched a Kung-Fu kick into Simmons' face along with some more punches.
He was banned by the club, FIFA and FA for a total of eight months but showed no repentance. His affairs with controversy made him a hated figure in both England and France as well as worldwide.