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Eric Cantona..

Eric Cantona on the Man Utd incident that had Roy Keane worried in 1993

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Over the trophy-ladened Sir Alex Ferguson era, nobody has produced quite as many stories as Roy Keane.

The Irishman plied his trade at Manchester United for 12 years, pulling on the captain's armband and romping his way to 17 major honours during his time at Old Trafford.

Throw in an abundance of red cards, an attempted punch on Alan Shearer, ending Alf-Inge Haland's career in a Manchester derby and you have yourself quite the individual and career.

Then there's Eric Cantona. There are few characters like him in the game - retiring from the beautiful game at age 30 and landing himself a major ban for karate kicking a Crystal Palace supporter.

Nevertheless, back in 1993, the Frenchman was involved in an incident that even Keane wasn't up for and that's saying something.

The Red Devils had drawn 3-3 with Galatasaray and made the trip to Istanbul for a second leg tie that would go down in footballing history for its notoriety.

Amid the partisan atmosphere and infamous banners of 'Welcome to Hell', Cantona was reportedly bludgeoned by a police officer wielding a truncheon.

And in Keane's autobiography, he opened up on the incident in a brilliant passage: "In the dressing room Eric went crazy. While the rest of us just wanted to get out of there, he was determined to go back outside to sort out the rogue cop who'd been wielding his truncheon.

Eric Cantona of Manchester United and  Brian Gayle of Sheffield United

"Eric was a big, strong lad. He was serious. He insisted he was going to kill 'that f****r'. It took the combined efforts of the manager, Brian Kidd, and a few of the players to restrain him. Normally I wouldn't have backed off a fight, but even I wasn't up for this one. There were a lot of Turks out there!"

You know it's bad when even Keane didn't fancy it.

Cantona has never spoken about the incident in detail until recently, during a podcast with Joe.co.uk as part of his UK promotional tour of his new book.

The United legend recalled: "He killed me from behind, not kill me, but he beat me from behind and disappeared. And I'm sure that the images from the video are somewhere, but they lost everything. Convenient.

Eric Cantona of Manchester United

"If it was someone else other than the policeman, then maybe I would have reacted differently. But a policeman?! He disappeared, disappeared like a weak man."

Let's be honest, there was only going to be one winner if Cantona managed to find the officer in question. Besides, even Keane was scared.

Who do you think was the greatest player of the Sir Alex Ferguson era? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Eric Cantona
Football
Roy Keane

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