`A good footballer is by nature a beautiful footballer'

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ERIC

Friday 27 January 1995 00:02
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ON LIFE AND FOOTBALL He who has regrets cannot look at himself in the mirror. If he lets other people down above all he knows he is letting himself down.

A young man has a right to rebel.

You need a particular talent only to want to please. I do not have this talent.

You should listen and take the advice of others but always, always, be yourself.

I hear now and again from the mouths of certain managers that you have to be a killer to succeed. Myself, I have never killed anyone and it is my conviction that it is our doubts and fears that should be killed, not our opponent.

Football belongs to those who love it to the point that they want to make a career out of it. We had a garden of paradise. Money and cheats have trampled on it and are still trampling on it.

A good footballer is by nature a beautiful footballer.

There is nothing more paradoxical nor more breathtaking than a goal in front of a crowd which is waiting for it.

The penalty is either happiness or sadness, nothing in between.

Glory often coincides with the development of what turn out to be very superficial relationships. Anyone who has not got any solid foundations before achieving celebrity often finds himself alone when he ceases to be famous.

Stupid people are convinced that a footballer goes only where the money is. If they don't want to die as idiots they should know that there are other things which also form part of negotiations.

Leaving a club is like leaving a woman. When you have nothing left to say you go.

The shape of my life shows that I am always on the move. I have suffered too much from being attached to things.

To achieve happiness you sometimes have to go through the worst depths of despair.

I like to touch the ball, to control it, to create spaces, to score goals.

If I don't train I lose my concentration. I can feel it in the match. I have this impression of having let go.

Genius is about digging yourself out of the hole you sometimes find yourself in. It's learning from your failures that makes you succeed.

I play with passion and fire. I have to accept that sometimes this fire does harm. I harm myself. I am aware of it. I am aware of harming others. But I cannot be what I am without these other sides of my character. I don't have to justify myself. I haveno regrets. I have to correct these faults. But I have to remain true to myself and that's the problem.

I've always felt that someone was watching over me, I don't know why.

Freedom of expression brings genius, brings euphoria, brings fire.

If you remember only what you do well and not what you do badly you do not progress.

If I never made a penny from the game I would still play it.

Perfectionism is a need. It's not something you learn. Some poeple need it, some people don't.

Football is my real passion, it's what I love most, it's what value most.

The quest for spontaniety is fundamental in art and football expresses it best.

You know you have a passion when you can't stop playing the game.

Immediately after a match my frame of mind forces me to analyse it. Whatever happens there are always things you could have done better. That's perfectionism. It's what makes you progress in life.

What I have to do now is find a solution that works. I think I have found one now.

You have to do everything you can to ensure your body and mind work in harmony. In my case, the wires often get crossed.

I have been punished for striking a goalkeeper. For spitting at supporters. For throwing my shirt at a referee. For calling my manager a bag of shit. I called those who judged me a bunch of idiots. I thought I might have trouble finding a sponsor . . .

ON ENGLISH FOOTBALL Everything is beautiful. The stadiums are beautiful, the atmosphere is beautiful, the cops on horseback are beautiful. The crowds respect you.

In France it's not the same, but then the fans are not the same there . . . In France there is no love, there is no passion. People give nothing and want only to take. I like the English game because you have no time out from the match, for 90 minutes it's constant action from end to end. The English often say the best form of defence is attack. They play to win. I like the non-stop action in England, you get right inside a game.

OTHERS ON CANTONA Eric likes to do what he likes, when he likes, because he likes it - and then fuck off. We'd all want a bit of that.

(Howard Wilkinson, his former manager at Leeds)

I have the impression that if he cannot score a beautiful goal he'd rather not score.

(Michel Platini, former manager of France)

You have just got to live with that side of Eric. He is a genius. But sometimes he just boils over. That kind of temperament makes him a great player.

(Alex Ferguson, his manager at Manchester United).

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