Eric Cantona is a pioneer. A revolutionary figure.
His moved to Leeds and then Manchester United in the early 90s was the catalyst for an influx of foreigners heading to the Premier League.
But the Frenchman might be the best of the lot.
In five seasons at the club, Cantona won four Premier League titles, scoring 82 goals in the process.
He was an enigmatic genius and was nicknamed ‘King Eric’ by the supporters.
He will go down in the club’s history - and rightly so.
However, Cantona left United pretty prematurely at the end of the 1996/97 season as he announced his retirement at the age of 30.
It came as a shock to everyone, including Sir Alex Ferguson who wrote Cantona a beautiful letter months after his retirement.
It read: “When we started training, I kept waiting for you to turn up as normal but I think that was in hope not realism and I knew in your eyes when we met at Mottram your time at Manchester United was over. Although, I still feel you should have taken your Father’s and my advice and taken a holiday before making such a major decision.”
Fergie concluded with: “You are always welcome here and if you just pop in unexpectedly for a cup of tea, no fanfare, just for a chat as friends, that would mean more to me than anything. Eric you know where I am if you need me and now that you are no longer one of my players, I hope that you know you have a friend.”
A more than a year later, Cantona returned to the Old Trafford pitch during a testimonial match in aid of the families of victims of the 1958 Munich air crash.
A Man Utd side beat an Eric Cantona European XI 8-4 but the night belonged to Cantona. He scored a quite brilliant individual goal when he switched into a Man Utd shirt.
We’re not quite sure about the defending as Cantona beat two defenders with skill and then the goalkeeper before lobbing the ball over the defender on the line.
A packed Old Trafford absolutely loved it and so too are fans on Twitter who are only just seeing the goal for the first time.
In the match programme for the memorial game, Cantona had a special message for United fans: "As everybody knows, 1998 celebrates a sad anniversary in the club's history," he wrote.
"Of course I immediately agreed when Manchester United asked me to give the whole benefit of the game to the families of the victims of the February 6, 1958 tragedy.
"I spent here, thanks to you, the best moments of my career.
"When I think about all these moments of happiness shared with you, I cannot also forget the tremendous team we had with my team-mates, Alex Ferguson, Brian Kidd and the staff.
"Long life to Manchester United."News Now - Sport News