Manchester United great Cantona to receive UEFA President's Award

Manchester United great Eric Cantona is to be recognised by UEFA for his achievements on and off the playing field.

Eric Cantona played a key role in Manchester United winning its first top-flight title in 1993.   -  Getty Images

Former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 UEFA President's Award.

The accolade recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities and has previously been awarded to the likes of Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, Alfredo Di Stefano, Johan Cruyff and Eusebio.

Former France international Cantona will receive the award in Monaco on Thursday during the Champions League group stage draw and was hailed by UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin for his lasting impact on the game and commitment to supporting charitable causes.

"This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre, but also honours him for the person he is - a man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular, puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in," Ceferin said in a statement.

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"It will reward your magnificent playing career and the social commitment that you have displayed since you hung up your boots, it will cast a spotlight on the Common Goal initiative (a project to which you know I am also personally committed) and it will demonstrate that official institutions, like UEFA, also know how to honour those who give meaning to football."

Cantona represented Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Nimes in his native France before switching to English football, where he spent a combined five years with Leeds United and Manchester United.

He played a key part in helping Manchester United win its first top-flight crown in 26 years in 1993 and went on to lift three more titles at Old Trafford before retiring in 1997.

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