Manchester United supporters - and others, too - remember the charismatic Eric Cantona as the man who lit up the Premier League.

Having moved from Leeds United to rivals Manchester United in November 1992 for a fee of around £1.2m, Cantona was expected to aid United in their bid to win England's top trophy for the first time in 26 years.  

The Frenchman made his competitive debut for the Red Devils in December 1992 against local rivals Manchester City, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win. 

United had fallen behind the likes of Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers in the race for the Premier League title as goalscoring had been a problem since the previous season, which ultimately cost the Manchester club the league title to Cantona's former club, Leeds.

Also, United's other forwards Brian McClair and Mark Hughes being out of form, while summer-signing Dion Dublin broke his leg and was on the sidelines for the next six months.  

Despite this Cantona settled in well at his new club and scored his first goal for United in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December.  By the end of the season Cantona had contributed nine goals which helped United win the league for the first time since 1967, finishing a staggering ten points ahead of Aston Villa.

The following season Cantona found the back of the net regularly for United, scoring an impressive twenty five goals in all competitions as United retained the league title and also won the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Chelsea in the final.  

With United proving their dominance in English football, the Red Devils looked to win the league title for a third successive season. However, in an infamous match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona kicked a Crystal Palace fan and was banned for nine months, meaning he wouldn't return until the  following season.

The Red Devils suffered as a result. During his absence, United missed out on the league title by a single point as Blackburn Rovers lifted the trophy in May 1995.

Cantona returned to face Liverpool in October of that year and within seventy minutes into his comeback, the forward scored a penalty in a 2-2 draw. Despite trailing Newcastle United for much of the season, United were able to lift the Premier League title for a third time in four seasons following a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough to regain the league, finishing above Newcastle by four points. 

United also became the first team to win the Premier League and the FA Cup in the same season twice. Unsuprisingly it was Cantona who scored the only goal of the game to give United a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the final at Wembley.

The 1996/97 season began with Cantona being named club captain following the departure of previous skipper, Steve Bruce. United retained the league in 1997 but the season ended on a sour note with Cantona announcing his retirement from professional football at the age of 30. Cantona scored a total of 80 goals in all competitions for United in his five seasons with the club. The Frenchman won the Premier League title four times and the FA Cup twice and also won a number of individual honours including the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1994.

The charismatic Frenchman was no doubt be remembered as the man who revolutionised the English game and will surely go down in history as one of the greatest footballers players of all time.

 

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