Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2010

Footballer Eric Cantona

Former French soccer player Eric Cantona may have been loved by Manchester United fans but the most infamous moment of his controversial career came while playing for them. In January 1995, the tempestuous sports star was given a red card during a road match against London team Crystal Palace. While leaving the field, he was subjected to a string of abuse from Palace supporter Matthew Simmons. Cantona launched himself at Simmons with a karate-style kung-fu kick followed by a series of punches; for his actions, Cantona was fined, sentenced to 120 hours of community service and eventually received an eight-month worldwide soccer ban. The sorry affair reached its nadir during a press conference called by Cantona, where he addressed the issue of constantly being under media scrutiny by oddly declaring, "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

Despite a later return to the game, he retired soon afterwards in 1997 at 30 and has subsequently found a second career as a (surprisingly) celebrated actor on both stage and screen. He played the French ambassador in the 1998 Cate Blanchett movie Elizabeth and was co-producer and lead actor in Ken Loach's Palme D'or nominated Looking for Eric, released in 2009.