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Most brutal tackle ever? Eric Cantonas for Auxerre vs Nantes in 1988

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Eric Cantona has never been a man to do things by halves.

The enigmatic former Manchester United star was constantly in the headlines during his playing career, for both good and bad reasons.

His penchant for the magnificent made him one of the most joyous footballers to watch, but his taste for controversy often soured the waters.

Cantona had a short fuse, there can be no denying it, and it often got the best of him.

His infamous kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan will live on as one the most iconic moments in Premier League history.

Fortunately, while he was never far from a bit of bad PR, Cantona is remembered more for his antics with the ball at his feet and some of the magical moments he treated us as fans to.

Eric Cantona celebrates a goal 23 APR 1994: A PICTURE SHOWING ERIC CANTONA OF MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB AS HE RUNS OFF WITH HIS ARM RAISED IN CELEBRATION AFTER SCORING THE FIRST GOAL IN HIS FIRST GAME AFTER HIS SUSPENSION AGAINST MANCESTER CITY IN THEIR PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH Mandatory Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT

When King Eric turned it on, there were few, if any, who could match him for true skill and guile.

He could turn the mundane intp the magnificent in the blinking of an eye and quickly became one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s favourite stars.

He came a long way from the impetuous lad in France who loved to throw himself around at any given opportunity.

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While we are massive fans of the player Cantona would become, you can’t help but admire just how mad he was in his early days.

If ever you needed proof of just how bonkers, we thought we would dig out an old clip of a Cantona horror-challenge while on duty for his first professional club, Auxerre.

At just 21, Cantona unleashed one of the most brutal flying lunges you could ever hope to see in a bid to saw Nantes midfielder Michel Der Zakarian clean in half.

You can see the moment in the clips below:

Got the ball, ref?

That has to be on of the wildest challenges we’ve ever seen – no messing about from Eric.

Thankfully, we never see tackles of this ilk nowadays but, back in big Eric’s day, they were just part and parcel of the game.

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