Manchester United’s Zlatan nowhere close to Cantona: Petit

Paris, Oct 28 (IANS) Former France footballer Emmanuel Petit feels Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic does not stand up to the physical challenge of the Premier League in the way legend Eric Cantona did at the English club.

Ibrahimovic, 35, has not scored in his last five league outings for United, and has found the back of the net just once in his last nine games in all competitions.

“When people say Ibrahimovic is like Cantona … he’s not at all, not at all, at all,” the former Arsenal and Chelsea player, who played alongside Cantona for France, said on SFR Sport’s Le Vestiaire on Thursday.

“‘Canto’, if he wanted to kick you in the head, he would do it. If he lost it, he would do it.”

“Cantona was strong in the face of strong opponents, he stood up to them. Ibra, when you start to get at him in a match — I’ve seen the batterings he’s taken in England — even if he replies sometimes … yes, he has character and personality, but don’t say ‘Ibra’ is like ‘Canto’. He isn’t at all.”

Cantona is regarded as a legend in United for playing a major role in helping the club end their 26-year wait for the English title in 1992-93, before inspiring them to another three league crowns in a trophy-laden five years.

He was also notorious for his on-pitch volatility and explosive temper, which led to a number of incidents, most significantly his “kung-fu” kick on a fan during a game against Crystal Palace in January 1995 that led to an eight-month ban.