Date: 1st August 2011 at 12:21pm
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Eric Cantona: an icon has likened leaving Manchester to quitting heroin in the September issue of GQ magazine.

Cantona, regarded as ‘The King’, famously walked away from football and Manchester in 1997 aged just 30 and whilst he had already enjoyed 5 influential and successful seasons he feels it was one of the hardest things he has done.

So hard in fact that he still struggles to return to the place he once called home, Old Trafford,

“If you are a heroin addict, and you’ve gone through the agonies of withdrawal, you don’t go back and start hanging out with your dealer.

“I found leaving Manchester very, very hard.

“It was, as I say, like quitting a class A drug. Psychiatrists have demonstrated that the body of a retired professional footballer can replicate the kind of symptoms that you get with abrupt opiate withdrawal.

“And that’s why I’ve avoided going back.”

Cantona has returned to  sparingly but will do so this Friday for the testimonial of where his New York Cosmos will take on Manchester United.