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Eric Cantona slams David Beckham for taking Qatar World Cup role, calls it a 'big mistake'

Daniel Marland

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Eric Cantona slams David Beckham for taking Qatar World Cup role, calls it a 'big mistake'

Eric Cantona has told former Manchester United teammate David Beckham he's made a 'big, big mistake' in becoming an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.

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The ex-England international reportedly agreed a deal worth seven figures last year to become the 'face' of this winter's tournament in the Middle East.

Many have criticised Beckham for taking the deal given how controversial Qatar hosting the World Cup is. The country has been accused of using the competition to 'sportswash' their reputation.

Cantona claims he will not be watching the tournament when it starts on November 20 and shared a few harsh words on the topic.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

'King Eric' went on to clarify he holds no ill will towards the players who represent their respective countries.

He told The Athletic: "I would not do it at all. I do completely the opposite. In January 2022, I started to say that. Maybe I was the first one.

"But I am free to do it. And of course, an ex-player paid to do this kind of thing… It could be they don’t know what has happened there. Or, if they know it, I think they did wrong. I think they made a big mistake. A big, big mistake.

"If you have a player who says, 'I will boycott the World Cup', you say, 'Bravo'. But you cannot condemn a 20-year-old player, who has a 10-year career, who lives in a world surrounded by people from football 24 hours per day.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

"But do speak about the federations, speak about the politicians, who have the power to say, 'No, we do not go to the World Cup'. 

"We cannot be disappointed if players don’t want to boycott the World Cup, because at the top, the politicians, the presidents, the federations, the ministers… they have the power to boycott it."

Cantona and Beckham played together between 1995 and 1997, winning two Premier League titles and the FA Cup together at Old Trafford.

A spokesperson for Beckham claimed the Premier League winner has regularly visited Qatar for over a decade and believes football can be used as a 'force for good' going forward.

The World Cup will run until December 18 and the final will take place at the Lusail Stadium.

SPORTbible Stories is the brand-new podcast from the SPORT team at LADbible. The latest episode features a chat with WWE legend Triple H who opens up on his long in-ring career, his rivalry with The Rock during WWE's Attitude Era and Logan Paul's fledgling wrestling career. You can watch the episode here.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Football World Cup

Daniel Marland
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