David Hirshey, HarperCollins’ executive editor who moonlights as a soccer writer, speaks with former Manchester United star Eric Cantona. In the interviews, Hirshey asks the hot-headed Frenchman about, well, being a hot-headed Frenchman (and another hot-headed Frenchman). The results, predictably, are wonderful.
DH: Is it just a coincidence that the other most famous incident of a player losing his sangfroid also involved a Frenchman? Is there something in the water in Marseille, where you and Zidane grew up, that turned you both into excitable boys?
EC:There is nothing wrong with Marseille. We both came from immigrant families who worked very hard so we could play football. Marseille gave us a good education about life.
DH: Have you ever talked to Zizou about his head-butt in the 2006 World Cup final?
EC: No, we don’t speak about these things. He’s younger than me, so I have not spent much time with him. I think the craziest thing he did in the World Cup final was the way he took the penalty kick. That is what I prefer to remember, not the head-butt.
DH: Zidane has since said that he’s sorry for his cheap shot. Do you have any regrets about what you did at Selhurst Park?
EC: Yes, I regret not kicking him harder. We are not all saints. I know there are some players who take their image very seriously.