What If Eric Cantona’s Kung Fu Kick Incident Never Happened?by Alex Al-Kazzaz November 8, 2020 0 comments
Eric Cantona is of the greatest players in the history of the English Premier League. A majority of Manchester United supporters consider him to be the greatest player in the club’s history. His skills and accomplishments during his time at Old Trafford speak for itself, including scoring 82 goals for the club, as well as winning four Premier League titles in a five-year span.
On January 25th, 1995, Cantona gained worldwide attention after an incident involving him and a spectator. That day Manchester United was playing Crystal Palace. Cantona was sent off for kicking Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw. Cantona grew increasingly frustrated during the match as Shaw had allegedly kicked Cantona in the shin several times. To make matters worse, the referee would turn a blind eye each time.
As Cantona walked to the tunnel, a fan climbed down eleven rows from their seat and allegedly shouted racial abuse towards him, prompting Cantona to attack the fan. The incident is known as the “kung fu” incident. As a result, he received an eight-month suspension, including a suspension from international duty. In addition, he lost his captaincy rank for the French National Soccer Team.
What if the incident never happened?
Cantona retired in 1997 at the age of 30. Cantona claims his decision to retire early is because he lost his passion. Many believe the suspension is the reason for his decision to quit. The main reason for losing his love for the game remains unclear. As far as international duty goes, if the incident never took place, Cantona could have captained the French National Team at the 1996 Euro as well as the 1998 World Cup. Cantona claims that had he been on the French squad ahead of the 1998 World Cup in France, he’d have delayed retirement.
At the suspension’s conclusion, France was building around younger players such as Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, and Thierry Henry. Incidentally, Cantona would never play for France again following his omission from the 1996 Euro. Being away from the game for eight months is brutal. It makes sense that the suspension is the reason for him not loving the game anymore. Additionally, Cantona’s problems with his temper was a cause for concern, meaning that frustration is a possibility for him losing his passion for the game.
If the incident were to never take place, it’s quite possible that Cantona’s career would have lasted longer. With many possible theories, the entire situation can go either way.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images