Manchester United legend Eric Cantona launches sport art exhibition

Image source, Nathan Chandler

Ex-Manchester United star Eric Cantona has launched an exhibition on sporting heroes and their impact on society.

The football legend helped to curate the show, which also features artist Michael Browne’s depictions of soccer icon Diego Maradona, boxer Muhammad Ali and Olympic athlete Jesse Owens.

Browne said he wanted to highlight those “who have been fighting against injustices throughout the world”.

Cantona said he hoped the display would encourage interest among children.

The 56-year-old said he wanted the sport-themed artworks at Manchester’s National Football Museum to introduce youngsters to wider issues in society.

“Now I can do nothing but maybe the kids can help us in the future, so it’s important to bring the kids,” he said.

Image source, Nathan Chandler

Image source, Michael browne

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today, Cantona said: “At this time, when the planet and climate is in danger, we have to be careful every minute.

“It seems that money can buy everything. But it’s not only in sport, it’s in everything.”

The ex-footballer, who spoke out about the staging of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said he felt the commercialisation of the game meant he “would support a club in [the] second division”.

The former French international, who also played for Leeds United, Auxerre and Marseille, said: “Of course I have my point of view, but what can I do? I can do an exhibition like this.”

However, he added: “I love the atmosphere of football, I love the soul of football.”

Image source, Nathan Chandler

Image source, PA Media

Born in Marseille, Cantona retired from professional football in 1997 before becoming involved in film acting and production.

He met Browne, who was born in Manchester’s Moss Side neighbourhood, for a painting depicting his return to football after he infamously kicked a spectator who had verbally abused him during a match in 1995.

From Moss Side to Marseille: The Art of Michael Browne and Eric Cantona will be open to visitors until June at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

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