Reckless Eric: Club-by-club guide to the strife and times of Eric Canto na : FOOTBALL

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Auxerre 1983-88

Record 81 matches, 23 goals, including loan to Martigues in 1985-86

High points Helps Auxerre to finish fourth in 1987, the same year as he is chosen to win the first of his 45 caps for France, scoring on his debut in a 2-1 defeat by West Germany.

Low points "That temperament from the South. It makes you have bad moments" - Guy Roux, manager of Auxerre Eric on the world "Stupid people are convinced that a footballer goes only where the money is. But there are other things..."

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Marseille 1988-89

Record 22 matches, 5 goals High points Breaking the French transfer-fee record when Marseille sign him for £2m. Repaying the club by helping them to a league and Cup Double.

Low points Banned from French team after calling manager Henri Michel "un sac de merde". Falls out with club for throwing his shirt to the ground after being substituted. Bernard Tapie says he will never play for his team again.

The world on Eric "A player who throws his shirt to the ground must be sanctioned. This doesn't correspond to my idea of football at Marseille" - club owner Bernard Tapie Eric on the world "One day, I knew for certain, I would come back to Marseille."

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Bordeaux 1989

Record 11 matches, 6 goals High points The purple patch in front of goal. Being met off the plane by Jean Tigana, fellow-product of the Caillols junior team in Marseille.

Low points The club lose faith in him for missing training. Cantona puts his absence down to the sudden death of his pet dog Balrine.

The world on Eric "You must be on your guard against his acts of truancy" - Didier Couecou, assistant to Bordeaux president Eric on the world "I don't have any regrets about what I did. He who has regrets cannot look at himself in the mirror."

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Montpellier 1989-90

Record 33 matches, 10 goals High points Has a run of five goals in three matches for France. Helps Montpellier to victory in the French Cup.

Low points After a match at Lille, with Montpellier struggling in the league, Cantona gets into a fight with team-mate Jean-Claude Lemoult, throwing his boots in his face. Montpellier suspend him.

The world on Eric "To condemn a person for the sole reason that he is different bears but one name: intolerance" - L'Equipe Eric on the world "You need a particular talent only to want to please. I don't have this talent."

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Marseille 1990-91

Record 18 matches, 8 goals High points Back in favour with Marseille ("They had been forced to appreciate me"), Cantona scores seven goals in opening 12 games of season.Then injured for three months.

Low points Arrival, during his absence with injury, of new manager - Raymond Goethals, who takes over from Franz Beckenbauer. Cantona does not hit it off with Goethals and is on his way again - to Nimes.

The world on Eric "He dares to say things that sometimes people don't care to say" - Gerard Houillier, manager of France Eric on the world "I would never have any respect for Goethals, because he never had any respect for his players."

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Nimes 1991-92

Record 17 matches, 2 goals High points Leaving.

Low points Banned for three games for throwing the ball in a referee's face. Suspended for two months after attacking an opponent and announces his retirement. On French version of Spitting Image, showing himself red cards.

The world on Eric "You can't be judged like any other player. Behind you is a trail of sulphur" - Jacques Riolaci, president of the disciplinary commission Cantona was sent before Eric on the world "Idiot. Idiot. Idiot" - Cantona to each member of the disciplinary committee 737 235.0 50

Leeds Utd 1992

Record 15 matches, 3 goals HIGH points The two flicks and right-foot volley with which he scored against Chelsea. Became cult figure with fans who he told "Why I love you, I don't know why, but I love you", words which became used in a pop song. The single failed in the charts but sold well in Yorkshire.

Low points Fined £1,000 by the FA for spitting at a supporter. Dropped for game at QPR in October, reacts with a fit of pique and, rather than watch the game, returns to France. Fall-out with Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, soon follows: sold to Manchester United for £1.2m.

The world on Eric "His comments were rather strange and incoherent in my opinion" - Howard Wilkinson Eric on the world "Leeds will always have a place in my heart, for it is there that I recaptured my taste for football."

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Manchester Utd 1992- Record 43 matches, 21 goals HIGH points League championship of 1993, the Double of 1994 (two goals in FA Cup final). Player of the Year, 1994, the first foreigner to win the award. Wins adoration of United fans like no player has since George Best.

Low points Sent off against Galatasaray in the European Cup, in a pre-season friendly, and three times in the Premiership. Only one of them is followed by an assault on a spectator. Left his mark on the World Cup when expelled from the Rose Bowl press box for throwing a punch at an official.

The world on Eric "I think if he is here today, tremendous. But if he is gone tomorrow, we just say, `Good luck, Eric, thanks for playing for us'" - Alex Ferguson Eric on the world "I cannot leave, because I cannot live without Manchester United."

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