The former Manchester United football star Eric Cantona, 45, has entered the political arena in France after seeking the necessary signatures to become a candidate in the 2012 vote for president.
Cantona, who has become famous and notorious for his antics on and off the football pitch and his forays into film acting, not to mention his somewhat obscure philosophical sayings, has written to France's elected mayors asking them to endorse his stand. He needs 500 mayoral signatures before he can be considered as a candidate. However, Cantona doesn't actually want to become president, he is simply seeking to highlight the problem of poor quality housing in France, according to the BBC.
Quoted in the French newspaper, Liberation, on Jan 10 he said that he chose housing as an issue "because I think it's essential and affects 10 million people." Cantona has been embroiled in politics before when in 2010 he called for French people to take all their money out of the banks as a punishment to the bankers for the economic crisis. Then it was discovered that his wife had appeared in an advert for a French bank. The stunt fizzled out with only a few people actually removing their money from the banks.
CNN reports that Francois Baroin, the French Finance Minister has dismissed this latest move by the former footballer although he did say that he preferred "the Cantona who looks after housing to the Cantona who told the French to withdraw their money from the banks in order to cause a disaster."
Despite being voted as Manchester United fans' "Player of the Century" last year, the Daily Mail says that Cantona is unlikely to actually get the signatures he needs but if he should do so, he has "virtually no chance of reaching the second round as an individual outsider".