How big a part does football play in your life nowadays?
When I was a player I used to watch a lot of games. I would watch opposition teams and players to help me improve. But now I only watch football for fun. I like to watch teams like United, Barcelona and Brazil who play the kind of football I like to see. I don’t want to waste my time watching bad games I don’t enjoy. People in England are lucky because French football is boring, incredibly boring. The best sixty French players play in countries like England, Spain and Italy. There are still some talented young French players who could be good but I don’t think any of the managers in France play to win. They are more concerned about not losing and therefore play eight or nine defenders and just one or two up front. How can you see goals from that kind of set-up? If you have great balance, you may see some special goals even with that kind of formation. But if you don’t have the best players and have two strikers against nine defenders, you cannot see goals. You can tell after just 15 minutes or so of a match that it will finish 0-0; I don’t like watching that kind of game. English football is the best and most exciting league in the world and, of course, I love watching United. I also enjoy the Spanish and German leagues, but in England the atmosphere is special. It’s just my opinion but I think it is also the opinion of millions of other people.
Finally, Eric, you described your relationship with the United fans as being ‘like a love story.’ Do you still feel that whenever you come back to Old Trafford?
Yes, of course. The fans watch lots of games and see many players year after year and perhaps they might have forgotten me. But I’m so glad that they haven’t. I would understand if one day they did forget me, but I love them and the fact that they haven’t. It makes me feel like I am still on the pitch and still at the club.