Why Manchester United legend Cantona retired at just 30 years old

Eric Cantona was a colossus of the game, and saw his best years at Manchester United.

But at the end of the 1997-98 season, he shocked the football world by announcing his retirement from football.

Cantona helped deliver silverware by the bucketload to Old Trafford after joining from Leeds in the inaugural Premier League season.

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In his five seasons at United, Cantona helped the club pick up four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and was named the Football Writers’ Player of the Year and PFA Player of the Year.

But after writing himself into the history books and winning the undying affection of the Stretford End, he decided to call time on his career, aged 30, despite appearing to have more than enough left in the tank.

Cantona was still one of the most watchable footballers of his time, but left United fans wondering why he’d decided to quit football so young. The enigmatic Frenchman put it in his own words in 2003

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“When you quit football it is not easy, your life becomes difficult. I should know because sometimes I feel I quit too young. I loved the game but I no longer had the passion to go to bed early, not to go out with my friends, not to drink, and not to do a lot of other things, ­the things I like in life.”

Cantona will always be one of the club’s greatest ever signings, and has since gone on to a successful career in acting. A particular highlight is when he plays his imaginary self in the film Looking For Eric.

Pick up the vintage Manchester United shirt you’ve been looking for here 

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