Did you know Eric Cantona’s brother Joel was a professional footballer who is now an actor?

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
3 Min Read

He’s the kung-fu kicking, collar-popping, seagull-talking Frenchman who became an icon at Manchester United. But did you know that Eric Cantona isn’t the only footballing talent in his family?

Meet Joel Cantona, the younger brother of the ‘King’, who not only shared a professional football career with his sibling but also followed him into acting.

Born two years after Eric, Joel Cantona had a decent footballing career as a defender. Although he might not have hit the heights of Old Trafford stardom as his older brother, Joel played at a good standard in his professional that spanned a decade, from the mid-80s to the late 90s. He notably had spells at Olympique Marseille twice, Rennes and Royal Antwerp.

Joel training with Peterborough United before moving on to Stockport County

In 1993, Joel was signed with Peterborough United but never played a game before he moved onto Stockport County where he played just three games during the 1993-94 season. All while his brother Eric was just a few miles down the road in his second season at Manchester United.

What I find curious about Joel Cantona’s brief Stockport Country stint is that he was playing at Marseille the following two seasons. Stockport was in the English Division 2 (now League One), and he went on to move on to the final club of his career, Marseille, who were a top French side at the time with players such as Fabian Barthez, Didier Deschamps and Rudi Voller. Crazy!

Anyway, footie wasn’t the only career on Joel’s horizon. Following in Eric’s footsteps again, Joel Cantona traded his football boots for the silver screen.

Joel bears a strong resemblance to his brother Eric

A look at Joel’s IMDB displays that he hasn’t been as prolific as his older brother in the acting world, with only 12 acting credits to his name. As expected, the roles he has obtained consist of French TV and films, but he has also been a producer on two films.

Looking at his TV credits where he has appeared as himself, he fascinatingly took part in the French version of Fort Boyard in 1996 but has also appeared in interviews and live TV shows.

So, while Eric might be the Cantona most of us know and love, it seems talent – both on the football pitch and the acting stage – is a family affair. I doubt we will ever see Joel Cantona starring in a blockbuster movie, but he has undoubtedly had an exciting and varied career that is not typical of a Frenchman or any man coming to think of it!

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