Eric Cantona wants to be the next president of France

Former Manchester United and Leeds United striker Eric Cantona
Eric Cantona made 144 appearances for Manchester United scoring 64 goals

Former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona has revealed he wants to be the next president of France.

The 45-year-old is hoping to run in this year's presidential election and is currently trying to gather the 500 signatures needed.

He needs them by the end of February and has sent a letter to French mayors asking for their support.

In the letter, Cantona denounces the limited opportunities for young people in France.

The letter, which was printed in the newspaper Liberation, said: "This engagement obliges me to speak, more earnestly than usual, but also with a keen sense of my responsibility, at a time when our country faces difficult choices which will be decisive for its future."

He also described the social injustices faced by French youngsters as "too numerous, too violent and too systematic".

Candidates who get the required number of signatures will compete in a first round in late April, with the two biggest vote-winners going through to a decisive second round in early May.

Despite Cantona's fame, he faces a difficult task to get through the first stage without the backing of a party.

It is not the first time the Frenchman has made the headlines for his political comments.

In 2010 he called on people to empty their bank accounts in protest at the global financial crisis.

Since retiring from football, Cantona, who scored 64 goals in 144 games for Manchester United and helped them secure their first Premier League title in 1993, has starred in several films including Ken Loach's Palme D'or-nominated Looking for Eric.

He returned to the game in January last year when he was named director of soccer at New York Cosmos.

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