'An artist, in my eyes, is someone who can lighten up a dark room. I have never and will never find difference between the pass from Pele to Carlos Alberto in the final of the World Cup in 1970, and the poetry of the young Rimbaud' - Eric Cantona
Football, and art. Eric Cantona - legend, maverick, troubled artist or just plain trouble - never saw a need to make a distinction between the two. For all the heat and noise surrounding his infamous Crystal Palace 'kung-fu kick', it is for the sheer exuberant beauty of his play that Eric Cantona is chiefly remembered by English football fans. At Leeds United he transformed the team into title contenders, but became a true talisman at Manchester United, where to this day fans sing of 'King Eric'. And yet the effortless style of Cantona's play could not hide a darker side to his temperament. In his own words, 'I play with passion and fire. I have to accept that sometimes, this fire does harm.'
In Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King leading French football journlist Philippe Auclair has interviewed over 200 key protagonists in Cantona's career, searching for the man behind the myth. Marrying a deep knowledge of Cantona's impact on the pitch with soulful, pin-sharp insight into the heart and inner thoughts of this most complex of characters, this is nothing less than the definitive biography of a one-time rebel of the French game, who rose to be the King of Old Trafford.
'I'd give all the champagne I've ever drunk to be playing alongside Cantona in a big European match at Old Trafford' - George Best
Philippe Auclair has been a correspondent with France Football for over a decade, and is a prolific freelance journalist on both sides of the Channel. He is also Radio Monte Carlo's main match commentator, the author of Thierry Henry: Lonely at the Top and a regular contributor to The Blizzard magazine. He lives in London.