Eric Cantona or Luis Suarez - Who is/was the better player?

Cantona Kung Fu

Manchester United legend or Liverpool superstar - Which would you rather have in your team?

A controversial striker with a touch for the spectacular, adored by their own set of fans but despised by others?

Yes Luis Suarez and Eric Cantona have a fair bit in common - In fact it's fair to say no player has divided opinion in the Premier League since the Frenchman quite like Liverpool's current superstar does.

Comparing the two is of course difficult because of the different eras and playing styles involved - but here's a look at how they stack up.

Goals

Cantona retired at 31-years-old, with a record of 165 clubs goals in France and England to his name. Suarez, 26, has 203 club goals already in England and Holland.  

For a more direct comparison Cantona scored 82 goals in 185 goals at Manchester United. Suarez has 65 goals in 107 games for Liverpool.

Club standing

Eric Cantona was rated so highly that he was voted as Manchester United's greatest ever player by supporters. Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler recently said Suarez is embarrassing the club's former strikers by just how good he is. How he will be remembered however will be dependent on how long he stays around at Liverpool and if he leaves, on what terms.

Achievements

Luis Suarez has just one trophy at Liverpool, the 2012 Carling Cup, his only other achievement in Europe a legaue title with Ajax. Eric Cantona won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Manchester United and one old First Division title with Leeds United. Cantona also won one PFA Footballer of the Year award and one Football Writers player of the year award.

International

At international level Cantona had a respectable record of 20 goals in 45 games but didn't get the opportunity to show what he could do at the World Cup, and had several fallouts with his national team bosses. Luis Suarez has 39 goals in 71 games for Uruguay and is ready for his second World Cup next summer, where he bagged three goals in 2010.

Controversies

Where do we start? Both Cantona and Suarez came to England with bad reputations; Suarez with an eight-game ban for biting an opponent, while Cantona's list of transgressions in France made quite a rap sheet. The highlights include hitting his teammate in the face with a pair of boots after the game, and throwing a football at a referee. He was handed a two month ban for insulting members of the FFF disciplinary panel.

Over in England they didn't curb their behaviour - Suarez again biting an opponent and picking up a 10 game ban. That added to a controversial eight match ban handed to him for allegedly racially abusing Patrice Evra the season before. However that pales in significance to the eight month ban handed to Eric Cantona for deciding to kung-fu kick a fan who was being abusive. 

image: © lordcolus

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