Ex-Inter chief Moratti reveals Eric Cantona regret

‘I would have loved to have him, he would have solved all our problems’: Ex-Inter Milan chief Massimo Moratti reveals regret at being unable to sign Eric Cantona from Man United after Frenchman’s infamous kung-fu kick

  • Inter Milan tried to sign Eric Cantona following 1995 kung-fu kick controversy
  • President Massimo Moratti has revealed his regret the deal didn’t materialise
  • Inter believed controversy over Cantona’s kick could bring United to the table
  • But Cantona was persuaded to stay at Moratti has always regretted it 
  • Inter did manage to sign ‘tough Englishman’ Paul Ince from United that summer 

Former Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti still regrets not signing Eric Cantona from Manchester United, saying the Frenchman ‘would have solved all their problems.’

Moratti, Inter’s chairman between 1995 and 2013, was present at Selhurst Park the night of Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick on Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons in January 1995.

He believed at the time that the controversy may force United to sell their talismanic forward and Inter did make an approach.

Former Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti has revealed his regret at being unable to prise Eric Cantona from Manchester United following his kung-fu kick controversy in 1995

Cantona was banned from football for nine months following his attack on Matthew Simmons, a Crystal Palace fan who abused him after he was sent off at Selhurst Park

The Frenchman was banned for nine months, during which time Inter attempted to sign him

But Cantona didn’t leave Old Trafford despite serving a nine month ban and handing in a transfer request that summer, with manager Alex Ferguson persuading him to stay.

Speaking on the Italian television programme ‘Che tempo che fa’ on Sunday night, Moratti was asked for his biggest football regret and answered: ‘I wanted to take Cantona from Manchester United but I couldn’t.

‘I would have loved to have him because I thought he [would have] solved all Inter’s problems.’ 

Moratti believed at the time that Cantona ‘would have solved all of Inter Milan’s problems’

Inter did sign ‘tough Englishman’ Paul Ince from Manchester United during 1995

Instead, Inter signed midfielder Paul Ince from United for £7.5million in 1995 and Moratti still has admiration for the Englishman. 

‘I was happy to have Paul Ince. Too little is spoken about him. He was an extraordinary player in terms of physical strength and charisma. A tough Englishman.’

Ince spent two seasons at the San Siro, playing 73 times and scoring 13 goals.

Cantona remained a United player for two further seasons, winning back-to-back Premier League titles before shocking the game by retiring in 1997 at the age of 30.

Moratti welcomes Paul Ince to Inter in 1995 after the England midfield moved from Man United

Moratti has spoken previously on the Cantona subject. Back in 2015, he said: ‘Maybe if we’d signing him, we would have started winning sooner because Cantona would have changed everything.

‘I was at the stadium when he kicked that fan and I said that maybe it would help with our negotiations, because maybe they would let him go because of that.

‘We were about to sign him and then, due to somebody’s mistake, it didn’t happen.’


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