Former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona has been selected as recipient of the 2019 UEFA President’s Award, Concise News reports.
The award is used to celebrate the outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities of ex-football stars.
It has previously been awarded to the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Johan Cruyff and Eusébio.
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. “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.”
Arise, King Eric 👑
Eric Cantona will be the recipient of the 2019 UEFA President’s Award, in recognition of a magnificent playing career and a commitment to social causes like @CommonGoalOrg 🤴🏻
— UEFA (@UEFA) August 27, 2019
Cantona played for Auxerre, Martigues, Olympique de Marseille, Girondins de Bordeaux, Montpellier and Nimes in his native France before switching to England, where he spent a combined five years with Leeds United and Manchester United.
He played a key part in helping Manchester United win their first top-flight crown in 26 years in 1993 and went on to lift three more titles at Old Trafford before retiring in 1997.