French icon Eric Cantona has been presented with the 2019 UEFA President’s Award in Monaco – and was praised by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin for his outstanding sporting and personal qualities.
Eric Cantona has been presented with the 2019 UEFA President’s Award in Monaco – and the iconic Frenchman was described by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin as “a person who has done a lot for good”.
Cantona, the iconic former French international, received the award from the UEFA President at the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday.
The President’s Award recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities.
Marseille-born Cantona scored 64 goals in 143 appearances for Manchester United. The 53-year-old was the catalyst who helped the club win their first English league title in 26 years in 1992/93, one of his four championship successes at Old Trafford.
He also represented Auxerre, Marseille and Nîmes among others in his native France, and Leeds United in England, with whom he also won the domestic title in 1991/92.
Since hanging up his football boots at the age of 30, he has committed himself to charitable causes, earning widespread praise for his efforts.
Mr Čeferin expressed his pleasure at being able to present Cantona with the award. “Eric was a fantastic player,” he said.
“Later, he became an actor and a commentator – but, most of all, he’s a person who has done a lot for good. He has dedicated part of his life to charity, so he absolutely deserves this award.”
Like Aleksander Čeferin, Cantona is a committed supporter of the Common Goal initiative, which funds high-impact football charities worldwide. “I love football,” the Frenchman said on receiving the award. “It’s a great honour for me.”
“Football is the most popular sport in the world, and through football, we can help a lot of people.”
The pair both contribute 1% of their annual salary to the project, which was co-founded by Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata.