Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ooh Ahhh, Cantona!

The Legend speaks to The Sunday Times in a rare interview. Here are some quality excerpts:

What was the move you liked the most?

I loved putting the ball where nobody expected it, on the condition that it was efficient. Everybody expects you to pass the ball to your left, and you do it on your right. The ball is in the running trajectory of the player, the game becomes more fluid and surprising. When you know how to do that, you have 10 times more opportunities because the players around you know you can throw the ball anywhere at any moment. So they spread out on the field.

You were at the final of the World Cup. What did you think of Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt?

I did not see it. I was in the stadium with my son. He called a friend who told him. What Zidane did means many things. He goes to a World Cup final as if he was playing outside his building when he was a kid. He takes his penalty with a flick, which is wilder for me than butting [Marco] Materazzi. For him, football is all about the pleasure of playing. He did not plan it. But hold on . . . I do not condone headbutting.

Wouldn’t it have been better to win the World Cup?

You do not like it when one of your players is sent off. But Zidane won a World Cup, a European Championship and led us to the final in 2006. We should not forget that. I would rather say we lost because of [the coach, Raymond] Domenech. From the beginning of the second half the Italians refused to attack. He should have put on an attacker. When you see Thierry Henry centring the ball and there is no one to get it, what is the point of having four defenders and two central defenders? It is a tactical mistake, worse than Zidane’s butt. We cannot take all the good and refuse the rest. An artist of that level is weak and strong at the same time.

A player like Michel Platini did not need those excesses. He was still a brilliant player.

I do not think Platini would have had the craziness to take the penalty Zidane took in a World Cup final.

So, in the big debate on who between the two is the greatest French football player, you would vote for Zidane?

No, it is me. (He smiles.) But I feel closer to Zidane as a player.


The Gaffer said...

will you expect any less??? Cantona was magic on the ball and even though I think of him as a god when it comes to football I will have to put Zidane first then Cantona and Platini.

The rest of the interview I agree with completely. Zizou is majestic in every way. That penalty is something maybe Maradona and Pele may have the balls to try but he did it in the world cup finals against arguably the best goalkeeper in the world.

Glendon said...

Yeah, I also liked the interview. One of the better ones I've read. Probably because I'm actually interested in what this guy has to say.