Eric Cantona: Former Manchester United striker shocks Uefa awards night with bizarre speech

Eric Cantona

There isn’t anyone quite like Eric Cantona…

Football draws and awards nights can often be dreary affairs, full of stilted speeches and goal montages. It’s not often you get a philosophical monologue from a footballing legend.

But that’s exactly what former Manchester United and France striker Cantona provided before the 2019-20 Champions League draw in Monaco when he was given the Uefa president’s award.

Dressed in a flat cap and an unbuttoned red shirt, he began by quoting Shakespeare’s King Lear saying “as flies to wanton boys we are for the gods” before continuing to reference science, war and crime.

The audience, packed with footballing superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, watched in stunned silence before sharing puzzled glances as Cantona made his way from the stage before Lucy Bronze and Virgil van Dijk were later named Uefa’s players of the year.

The Frenchman isn’t new to philosophical outpourings. In the aftermath of his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan back in 1995, he gave his infamous press conference observation that “when the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea”.

Never change, Eric. Never change.

Cantona’s bizarre speech in full

“As flies to wanton boys we are for the gods, they kill us for their sport.

“Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of the cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state and so we will become eternal.

“Only accidents, crimes, wars, will still kill us but unfortunately, crimes, wars, will multiply.

“I love football. Thank you.”


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