Cantona jokes he'd have to sell 'a lot of albums' to buy Man United as he embarks on singing career

The football legend is now showcasing a new skillset, his singing, and is set to go on tour, as ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar reports

Eric Cantona has joked he’d have to sell “a lot of albums” to buy Manchester United as he launches his singing career with a debut single.

The United legend, who was the star player behind four Premier League titles for the club, released The Friends We Lost on Friday ahead of a tour later this year, which will include a stop in Manchester.

In an interview with ITV News, Cantona highlighted his love of the city and his time there in the 1990s as an inspiration behind his music.

But with the owners of his cherished former club in talks to sell at least a part of their stake, Cantona laughed at the idea of taking up a more permanent return to the north-west.

“Oh yes, I’d have to sell a lot of albums,” he said.

“I had the best time of my life in Manchester. So strong, so wonderful.

“[It] Inspired me a lot for my music also, because I was in Manchester in the 90s, this time [there were] a lot of bands in Manchester.

“This city was very inspiring, it was a great movement of arts, sports, everything.”

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While his inspiration dates back decades, Cantona began singing and trying his hand at the guitar over lockdown.

His music is an expression of himself, he says, claiming “if I cannot express myself, I prefer to die.”

Most crucially, it makes him feel free.

“I have started on my own and tried to find my own style, with my own feelings, my own personality, in the way I write the music, in the way I write the lyrics, my voice,” he said.

“The feeling of freedom for me is very important, maybe because I feel like a prisoner, I don’t know. To really have the feeling of freedom, you have to feel sometimes like a prisoner of something.

“So any kind of support in art can help me to have this kind of feeling, so I use all kind of support. Paintings, photography, acting, writing, music, everything.”

He's written 30 songs, he says, and his second single will be called Tu Me Diras, which will be released ahead of an album later this year.

'I’ve been completely free'

He said he wrote all the lyrics to his music and directed the video to The Friends We Lost, joking that he “can do everything… except being humble.”

It’s a following that’s now taking him on tour in intimate venues in London, Manchester and Dublin, before finishing in his hometown in Marseille in France.

He admitted he “doesn’t know” what kind of performer he will be, but he said he will “use the energy of the crowd” and “love the adrenaline.”

What is for sure is he will invite some of his former teammates and possibly even his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

'If they want to come, they come'

“I will invite them, I don’t know. If they want to come, they come. It will be a great pleasure for me,” he said.

As for the current generation of Manchester United players. He said he will be watching them in the FA Cup final on Saturday from his TV.

And who does he think will win?

“United, of course.” 

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