Little did people know it at the time, but on February 8, 1992, the career of one of the great players to grace English football took off.

The date marked Eric Cantona's debut in English league football, for Leeds United against Oldham Athletic. Few will have predicted what was to follow.

While fans of Manchester United, for whom he went on to win four league titles with, including their first for 26 years, will be the first to sing his praises, his success in the Premier League era sparked the current influx of foreign personal in this country, a watershed moment for English league football.

Cantona was flamboyant, arrogant and polarised opinion throughout football, not least given his brilliance on the pitch, and his ability to commit unholy acts off it.

To mark the anniversary of Cantona's debut in English football, GMF have ranked the Frenchman's best 10 moments in front of goal whilst on our shores.
 

10.
Manchester United v Arsenal
Premier League
Old Trafford
September 13, 1994

Often praised for his artistry, this was an example of Cantona's explosive side. Around 30 yards from goal, the ball was teed up before he riffled it past David Seaman.

9.
Leeds United v Chelsea
Division One
Elland Road
April 10, 1992

As skilful as they come, Cantona bamboozled the Chelsea defence with this bit of magic. After juggling the ball in the Blues box, he half-volleyed into the roof of the net. A vital goal in Leeds' title challenge, which eventually saw them pip rivals United to the Division One title.
 

8.
Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Old Trafford
January 22, 1995

A goal more memorable for its importance rather than its quality. Cantona latched onto a superb Ryan Giggs cross and crashed a header past Tim Flowers, a goal that kept United in contact with Rovers in a thrilling title race.
 

7.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Old Trafford
March 24, 1996

All aspects of Cantona's brilliance in evidence here, as Tottenham are punished for handing the forward too much space. His instant control allowed him the space to turn towards the penalty area, and as he ran full flight at the Spurs back four, his shot trickled towards the far corner.
 

6.
Manchester United v Arsenal
Premier League
Old Trafford
March 20, 1996

Cantona took full advantage of an opportunity to embarrass Seaman again. The England stopper came out to meet a cross, but the clearance only fell the United man's way, with a dipping volley producing another spectacular moment.
 

5.
Wimbledon v Manchester United
FA Cup fifth round
Selhurst Park
February 20, 1994

Not a decisive goal in a comfortable cup tie for the eventual winners, but Cantona set the game alight at a ground he'd later become infamous at. Dennis Irwin's cross wasn't cleared, but after taking one touch to control the header, the second was a devastating volley which flew in the top corner.
 

4.
Sheffield United v Manchester United
Premier League
Bramall Lane
December 7 1993

Already two goals to the good, United had the luxury of playing on the counter attack, and they produced a goal typical of their early Premier League success. Cantona eventually picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area after a flowing move, and launched an audacious chip into the far corner.
 

3.
Newcastle United v Manchester United
Premier League
St James' Park
December 21, 1996

As United continued to claw away at Newcastle's lead at the top of the table, Cantona's winner proved to a decisive blow. Phil Neville's cross came all the way through to Cantona, whose volley back across goal was too good for Pavel Srnicek.
 

2.
Manchester United v Sunderland
Premier League
Old Trafford
December 21, 1996

In his final season at United, Cantona gave pundits and fans alike a timely reminder as to his brilliance. After swivelling and exchanging passes with Brian McClair, he found room for a sublime chip into the opposite corner of the goal, beyond a perplexed Lionel Perez.
 

1.
Liverpool v Manchester United
FA Cup final
Wembley Stadium
May 11, 1996

Having struck twice in United's demolition of Chelsea two years previous, Cantona was back at Wembley again. Following a drab 85 minutes, David James came for David Beckham's corner, made no intervention, allowing Cantona to smash a volley from the edge of the area.

Topics:
#Football
#Championship
#Premier League
#Eric Cantona
#Manchester United
#FA Cup