Belfast Telegraph

Eric Cantona tells Manchester City stars to stop moaning

By Simon Stone

Eric Cantona has voiced doubts about what he perceives as Manchester City's attempts to buy their way to greatness, suggesting that those highly paid players who have declared they do not like life in Manchester have overlooked the fact that they are in the city to play football.

Cantona came to love Manchester without opulence. He initially set up home in the Manchester West Novotel in Worsley Brow, and then in the residential village of Boothstown, near Wigan.

But he insisted that the distaste for Manchester expressed by Carlos Tevez — whose return to the city has been put back to Monday after manager Roberto Mancini agreed to extend his summer holiday by a few days — and the former Internazionale striker Mario Balotelli was alien to him.

“It depends on where they come from and why they come,” Cantona said.

“If they come from Milan maybe ... I don't want to name cities.

“But the most important thing for me was to play for the best club in the world with some of the best players in the world. That's the most important thing when you're a professional player. The greatest time you can have is on the pitch.”

Cantona, who never lost to City in a United shirt, also insisted that United would retain their position as the pre-eminent side in the city because success could only be developed incrementally.

“I don't know how they [City] work — maybe they work on the academy — but today they want to spend to build a team, to buy players,” added the Frenchman.

“They've been successful because they won the FA Cup, but if they only do that they will not be as strong as United because United are working for the long-term by bringing through young talent.”

Cantona, now 45, who bestrode Old Trafford for five and a half years from 1992, will return for the first time in a professional competitive capacity tomorrow night when the newly established New York Cosmos side he is helping develop become the first American side to play at the stadium.

Appearing alongside Pele, honorary president of the Cosmos, to discuss the club's appearance in Paul Scholes' testimonial, Cantona added: “I don't care about the spotlight and journalists. I can stay at home.”

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