Manchester United legend Eric Cantona to return to Old Trafford for Paul Scholes' testimonial

Frenchman to coach New York Cosmos against the Premier League champions in August and gets blessing of Sir Alex Ferguson and the American side's honorary president Pele

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona will be making a return to Old Trafford for the testimonial game for recently retired midfielder Paul Scholes in August.

The Frenchman will be coaching the iconic New York Cosmos side, who have agreed to play the Premier League champions and will no doubt reign in the crowds to the Theatre of Dreams.

Cantona was a dominant force at United and helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s team become one of the most successful sides of the 1990's, winning four titles and two domestic doubles in his five seasons in Manchester.

The 45-year-old told reporters: "I wish to congratulate Paul for such an incredible career at Manchester United and I am looking forward to returning to Old Trafford in my new role with the New York Cosmos."

Scholes himself played in Gary Neville’s testimonial last month in which David Beckham put on a Manchester United shirt for the first time in eight years and Scholes knows it will be another great night for the club.

"This is going to be a big night for me and my family but one which I intend to enjoy and I will savour every moment," said Scholes.

"I have spent my whole footballing life at Manchester United, so this will be an emotional farewell.

"This club is special in many ways but the fans are the best and I have always appreciated their support throughout my career.

"I hope they enjoy the night, especially seeing the Boss and Eric battling it out in front of the dug outs."

The outgoing midfielder will now take on a coaching role with the Red Devils and Ferguson says he appreciated the player, not just for his skills on the ball, but also for his modest lifestyle as a footballer and not a celebrity.

"Paul's retirement was typical of the man, low key, he was safe on holiday just so he could avoid any media interviews," said the Scot.

"However he won't be able to hide away this time and it will be fantastic for the fans to be able to bid farewell to this exceptional footballer.

"The accolades he's received have been well deserved but for me Paul is one of those players who turns up, plays his football and it is that natural ability that makes Paul unique and revered by many, including myself.

"Now from one great player to another, Eric Cantona. I am going to relish this touchline showdown, one Gaelic mind to another.

"Neither of us will want to lose this one, it is sure to be a great night and a well deserved recognition for Paul."

Cosmos honorary president and Brazilian legend Pele will also be in attendance for the match, a player who was there at the very beginning of the American club’s history and says he is delighted to be able to play at such a venue.

Pele said: “We are honored to have the opportunity to play in one of the most historic stadiums in the world, and look forward to having The New York Cosmos be a part of Paul Scholes’ testimonial match. More importantly, I hope this will be a fantastic evening for Paul and for all the fans, while giving us a chance to reconnect with our football family at Manchester United.”

 

 

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