Eric Cantona gives bizarre UEFA award speech at Champions League draw

Eric Cantona surprised the crowd with his speech after receiving the UEFA President's Award
Image: Eric Cantona surprised the crowd with his speech after receiving the UEFA President's Award

Eric Cantona has added to his long list of unique and bizarre speeches after collecting the UEFA President's Award.

The former United forward was on stage ahead of the Champions League draw in Monaco to receive the award, which "recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities".

Dressed in a rather casual shirt, jeans and flat cap and sporting a familiarly large beard, the 53-year-old began by quoting William Shakespeare's King Lear: "As flies to wanton boys, we are for the gods."

Eric Cantona arrives in Monaco ahead of the Champions League draw
Image: Cantona arrives in Monaco ahead of the Champions League draw

The audience, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, looked on perplexed as Cantona continued: "They will kill us for the 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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Cantona's strangest moments

Eric Cantona
Image: Cantona's comments drew similarities to his famous 'seagulls' speech in 1995

In February 1995, Cantona was handed an eight-month ban for jumping into the stands and kicking a fan at Crystal Palace.

At a news conference after, Cantona's only comment before walking out was: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

After George Best's death in November 2005, footballers around the world paid tribute to the United legend but few were quite as eye-catching as Cantona's.

He said: "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.

"I would love him to save me a place in his team, George Best that is, not God."

And the Frenchman proved he will always have a love of United, where he scored 70 Premier League goals in 156 appearances.

"You can change your wife, your politics, your religion. But never, never can you change your favourite football team," he said.

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