Three years ago, the great Eric Cantona left viewers baffled after his acceptance speech about Gods, wars and crimes after collecting the UEFA President’s Award.

The Manchester United legend picked up his gong ahead of the Champions League group stage draw from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

The award recognised the Frenchman’s amazing football career and his support of charitable causes and helping to improve lives around the world. But it was his speech that left onlookers – including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – a bit perplexed.

Cantona talked about being sent from the Gods before going into details about crimes and wars.

He said: “Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of the cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state. And so we become eternal.”

“Only accidents, crimes and wars will still kill us. But unfortunately, crimes and wars will multiply. I love football. Thank you.”

Cantona has always been one for the bizarre. Image: AlamyUEFA chief Ceferin perhaps said it best when he spoke before handing the award over, pointing out that the Manchester United spoke his mind, rather apt considering what was to come.

“This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre but also honours him for the person he is,” the Slovenian said.

“[He is] a man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and, in particular, puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in.”

Cantona is a United legend. Image: AlamyEven for a man who famously baffled journalists by telling them the seagulls follow the trawler, a still iconic press conference quote, it was still a strange speech.

The former Leeds United star went in on the world football governing body for hosting the tournament in the middle east, saying it wasn’t a ‘real World Cup.’