Former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona has been inducted into the official Premier League Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of inaugural members Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.
Launched last month, the Premier League Hall of Fame shortlist was compiled by the Premier League following an assessment of former players who meet the Hall of Fame selection criteria, including number of appearances, goals, assists, clean sheets, and individual and team honours.
The Frenchman became the third player to be awarded the ‘highest individual honour’ after scoring 70 goals in 156 Premier League appearances – a period which also yielded four titles in five seasons for the Red Devils.
“I am very happy and very proud, but at the same time I am not surprised,” Cantona remarked. “I would’ve been surprised not to be elected!
“I have been lucky to play in this team, with wonderful players, a wonderful manager and wonderful fans. We won and it was the football I dreamed about because Manchester United, it’s a club where they want to win things but in a good way.
“It is very important to have an honour like this. I play football, I love football, I dreamt about football when I was a kid. Of course, to play in England was a dream. It’s a dream of everybody, and playing in the Premier League, so I have to say thanks to all the people who voted for me – the older generation and your generation, everybody. Which is very important because as I tell you it was a long time ago, and sometimes people forget!”
The 23-man shortlist includes: Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Michael Owen, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright.
The next six players to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame will be announced this week, decided by both the public and the Premier League Awards Panel following a two-week voting period.