Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that even the players had no idea that Eric Cantona was going to announce his retirement aged 30 back in 1997 after they won the Premier League title together. United had just won a fourth Premier League title in five years with ‘King’ Cantona leading the way once again as the Reds sealed their triumph with a 2-0 win over West Ham United. However just a few days later the Frenchman made the shock announcement that he was hanging up his boots despite seemingly being in his prime and opting to move into acting, to the shock of the entire football world.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “We had a party, danced all night, doing the famous Pulp Fiction dancing, I can still remember Eric being up there! At 4am, we said our goodbyes and, a couple of days later, me and Jordi and our partners went down to London, and, as we arrived in London, we got off the train and it was on the radio that Eric Cantona had decided to retire. That’s just Eric for you – he had never mentioned anything to us when we were partying two days before.”
Cantona would never return to football despite fans calls for him to make a comeback, but Solskjaer says he benefited greatly from the one season he spent alongside the great man in the Old Trafford changing room.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “It was disappointing but I really enjoyed my year with him. What a character. I learned so much from him. Y’know, when we had corner kicks Becks was always over there to take them and before the game the gaffer says: ‘David on the corners.’ So we come in at half-time and the gaffer’s saying: ‘Eric, what have I told you? It’s Becks on the corners’ because Eric had been taking them all. Eric shrugs and, when we go out again, first corner of the second half, who goes over to take it…? Eric. He had a special way about him.”
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