Who’s more than a footballer

Guardian Football’s blog recalls some of football’s finest six volleys of all time and Eric Cantona’s goal in Manchester United’s match against Wimbledon was ranked third. And what a cracker that was.

According to Rob Smyth, a sports writer for the UK paper [and probably a United fan like me]:

The volley is widely perceived as the hardest skill in football, but the flip side of that difficulty is that it is the perfect tool with which to demonstrate your superiority, as Eric Cantona showed at Selhurst Park in 1994.

Early on [in the game], Vinnie Jones piled in with a laughable and predictable reducer; Cantona simply looked Jones up and down with the sort of magisterial contempt that only he could muster, and then, just before half-time, showed how you really hurt someone on a football field.

Gary Elkins made his only contribution to football history by heading Denis Irwin’s long cross to the edge of the box, whereupon Cantona killed the ball with a velvety touch and then leathered it beyond Hans Segers. It was a perfectly unanswerable piece of skill that broke Wimbledon, who had been in the game until then, completely.

He might not have been the greatest overseas player in English football history – the quality of the game in this country has increased so much in the last 15 years – but nobody has been so superior to his peers. And nobody knew how to demonstrate that superiority in such a regal manner. This was not a footballer; this was Cantona.

That’s right. All hail Le King.