Eric the King would make a great French president – but sadly, it seems, Cantona was only kidding when he convinced the media he is ready to stand for election.

Pictured wearing a tie on the front page of the French daily Libération alongside a letter to French mayors asking for 500 signatures – the symbolic number needed to run for president – it appeared the maverick ex-football messiah turned movie star was launching a bid to succeed Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential elections this spring.

Seasoned Cantona watchers have learned to expect the unexpected. And many will say it’s a shame he was only joking because Eric speaks more sense than most politicians. But the brilliance of the maverick ex-Manchester United icon is that his eccentric publicity stunt has definitely hit the target.

The aim was to raise awareness of the plight of poor people in France. And once again Eric hit the back of the net. It’s been a good week for football legends making headline-grabbing comebacks.

“He isn’t looking for signatures to be a candidate for the presidency, but to pass on the message of the Abbé Pierre foundation in support of better housing policy, and to make housing, which is a priority for French people, a priority for the presidential candidates”, Libération‘s deputy editor, Paul Quinio, told the I-Tele news channel.

– BY JOHN GUBBA

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