Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has finally come clean on why he decided to retire from football at a relatively young age, around 20 years after he originally hung up his boots.
Cantona arrived at Old Trafford from fierce rivals Leeds United but quickly helped fans forget his ties to his former club by creating new history with his new club.
Most supporters claim that the Frenchman was the man who sparked the Red Devils’ success during his five years at the club.
Having helped the team win four league titles, two League Cups and two FA Cups in the short span of those five years, it’s fair to say the above statement holds some truth.
However, the dream was cut abruptly when the striker/attacking midfielder shocked the world with his decision to retire and the man himself has explained just why he did so below.
Speaking to JOE’s Unfiltered podcast, Eric said: “I didn’t feel the passion for the game.
“To play at the highest level, you have to be very careful about what you eat, what you drink, what time you go to bed, what you think.
“You have to be concentrated on the game. Secondly, to do that, you need the passion. If you lose a bit of passion, you lose a bit of something else and that means you can’t play at the highest level.
“Passion helps you improve yourself, but when you lose that, you can’t improve yourself anymore and I loved that feeling that I was improving while playing.”
Taken out of context, some people may believe that Cantona lost his passion while playing for United but they’re two separate things entirely.
The Old Trafford hero was clearly a unique player and recognised that he wouldn’t do his team or hisself justice if he remained involved with the game any longer.
Although Eric’s presence is still sorely missed by fans, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has somewhat taken over the Frenchman’s role on a much smaller scale.
Manager Jose Mourinho clearly recognised an attitude or mentality issue at the Red Devils and decided to bring in Ibrahimovic during his first season in charge to address the problem.
Even though it’s still early days, Zlatan’s professionalism and winning mentality has helped Mourinho steer the ship away from disaster, winning the League Cup and Europa League last year.