Premier League | Back then: When Éric Cantona reinvented kung fu

Almost 1,500 years ago, the term kung fu was first associated with some martial arts in China by Shaolin monks. On January 25, 1995, this designation was further developed by Éric Cantona – or rather: made ad absurdum.

In the true sense of the word, kung fu means “achieved goal through patient work”. 25 years ago, the Frenchman proved that you can reach your goal much faster with kung fu.

It was a chilly January day when Crystal Palace hosted second-placed Manchester United. The players had some time to let their emotions out in the dressing room after 45 minutes without a goal – although not all 22 players managed to do so. Immediately after the restart, the United legend blew the fuses twice. Cantona first felled his opponent with a swipe between the eyes before venting his frustration on a fan when he was sent off.

Eight-month suspension for the enfant terrible

After his red card, the midfielder marched stylishly towards the dressing room with his shirt collar turned up. At this point, his coach Sir Alex Ferguson only shook his head at the assault he had just witnessed.

Then, it was later reported, a fan insulted the Frenchman, after which he sailed over the barrier with a Karate Kid flight routine to tattoo his studs on the spectator’s chest.

Thankfully, the fan got away with a scare and Cantona finally had time to cool his emotions during the eight-month suspension that followed.

Nico Schrimpf


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