Two geniuses who redefined the game in a literal sense, wearing Manchester United’s iconic no. 7 jersey: But who did more for the club and the fans? Who is a bigger Red Devil?
Manchester United is one of the oldest football clubs in the English Premier League. Manchester United legend ranks include the likes of Duncan Edwards, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, George Best, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and many more Red Devils.
Manchester United fans have always taken pride in their No. 7s. The jersey was worn by some of the greatest legends of football. French legend Eric Cantona, English great David Beckham, and Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo all made significant contributions to United’s success in the 1990s & 2000.
Eric Cantona: Came, Conquered, Left
Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona, French actor and former professional footballer ended his career at Manchester United. At United, Cantona won four Premier League titles in five years. His time saw two League and FA Cup Doubles. Cantona won the league championship in seven of his last eight full seasons as a professional.
Cantona is often regarded as having played a key role in the revival of Manchester United in the 1990s. He commands an iconic status at the club.
David Beckham: Love Story with a reluctant departure
David Robert Joseph Beckham, the English former professional footballer is currently the president of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City. Beckham’s professional club career began with Manchester United, where he made his first-team debut in 1992 at age 17.
With United, he won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States, and France.
Why David Beckham is better than Eric Cantona?
Cantona’s greatest Moment for United
Eric Cantona’s career in Manchester United colours was short. But it was long enough to earn him a place in the club’s history. In those 5 years at Manchester, he won four Premier League titles and two league and club doubles, despite serving an eight-month ban for his infamous kung-fu kick directed towards a Crystal Palace fan.
An Icon; Never Forgotten
Ferguson believed and backed the work ethic of Eric Cantona. The Frenchman was a heavy influence on the younger players.
“Cantona was a United Icon, and he will never be forgotten.”
“I remember Eric’s first day and after the training session had finished he asked for a goalkeeper, two players from the junior team who were still there, and a few footballs,” Ferguson said. “I said to him what did he need those for and he said he wanted to practice.”
Cantona decided plenty of tight games during his United career. Arsenal at home in September 1993 was one of them.
When Steve Bruce left in 1996, Alex Ferguson picked Cantona to be United’s new club captain.
Always part of the United Family
On the other hand, David Beckham is a global icon and probably the most popular footballer in the world. But the former England captain hasn’t had a smooth career.
Beckham’s Greatest moments for United
It only takes a moment for anyone to get famous all over the world and one of them was David Beckham’s magical goal which he scored against Wimbledon. The 20-year-old midfielder got the ball in his own half, saw Wimbledon’s goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line, and floated the ball over the keeper’s head and just below the bar to score a memorable goal.
Beckham’s most telling contributions to United’s Champions League win in 1999 were the two corners he put in for the goals that won them the tournament that completed a historic Treble. The season led to coach Alex Ferguson being endowed with a knighthood by the Queen of England.
Stats: In numbers at United
Eric Cantona (1992-1997)
Appeared in – 174
Goal Scored – 79
Assist – 59
Yellow Cards – 21
Red Card – 3
Trophies Won – Player of the year (1993-94), Premier League (1993, 94, 96, 97), FA Cup (1994, 1996), Super Cup (1994, 95, 96, 97)
David Beckham (1993 – 2003)
Appeared in – 394
Goal Scored – 85
Assist – 152
Yellow Cards– 58
Red Card– 1
Trophies won – Premier League (1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03), Champions League (1998-99), FA Cup (1995-96, 1998-99), Community Shield (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997), Intercontinental Cup (1999).
“My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan,” Eric Cantona gave this statement on his time at Manchester United.
The United fans were besotted by Cantona during his five tumultuous years at the club. His leap into the crowd and into the chest of a spectator berating him at Selhurst Park in 1995 was defining an event for United’s supporters. The minute he first strutted onto the Old Trafford turf, collar turned up, chest puffed out, holding himself ramrod straight, ratcheted up several notches to the point of blasphemy.
Cantona, United’s ultimate Manchester United legend
When the new Demon King of Old Trafford returned from his ban, fans paid for a billboard on the forecourt at Old Trafford saying, “We’ll never forget that night at Selhurst, when you buried that 30-yard screamer against Palace.”
After retiring in 1997, Cantona turned to act and has appeared in over 20 films.
David Beckham has been linked with an ambassadorial role with Manchester United once his playing career is over. A United source said, “It’s something that has only been whispered at this stage but Beckham will always be part of the United family.”
Beckham scored a goal against Real Madrid, a feint and dribble past three defenders before a thunderbolt into the back of the net. This goal introduced him to Madrid, and probably the day they knew they had to buy him.
Beckham left United under something of a cloud in 2003 after his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson became strained.
Finally, what Cantona thinks about Beckham
Cantona thinks Beckham is a winner
Eric Cantona, the former Manchester United legend has said that his former teammate David Beckham is a winner. He believed that the experience of the Englishman can bring a lot of value to the French outfit as they compete for major honours.
“Big players who have a lot of experience always bring something with them. Beckham might not be able to play in all the games but his experience will be useful.”
Cantona believed Beckham’s experience is invaluable, as the former England captain looks to play a key role in aiding his side to victory on numerous platforms.