Cantona swims the Channel: Frenchman follows the trawler
Giant images of Man United legend appear on White Cliffs of Dover ahead of cross-Channel challenge
The media's attention may have been focused on Calais in recent weeks but there was a strange sight in Dover yesterday when a 350-ft high image of Eric Cantona was beamed onto the famous white cliffs.
Not only was football's most famous Frenchman superimposed onto the cliffs but Cantona was clad in a tight lyrca swimming costume that bulged in all the wrong places.
As Nigel Farage presumably spluttered into his pint in apoplexy, the 49-year-old swimmer looked out across the very same waters that he'll attempt to swim on Thursday as part of #LeBigSwim.
A month ago Cantona, who since retiring from football in 1997 has launched a successful career as an actor, pledged to swim the 20 miles that separate England from France "if you agree with me that Kronenbourg is the supreme tasting beer in the world", explains the Daily Mirror.
Cantona has promoted the French beer in a series of high-profile adverts in recent years and he was in characteristically bullish form as he announced: "I have never turned down an opportunity to be bold and make a statement in the name of something I believe in. I Cantona, will swim the Channel in the only way I know best, and show the world once again that I stand up for what I believe in."
All that was needed was 10,000 people to back his claim, and with the signatures duly collected Cantona is honouring his vow to swim the Channel's chilly waters.
Having his lycra-clad body (he also appears in a garish gold dressing gown in one image) beamed across the white cliffs is a parody of a similar promotion featuring former United teammate David Beckham in 2012. On that occasion 'Goldenballs' appeared in his briefs in an advertising campaign "designed to set the pulses of the nation's women racing", reports Metro.
It's not known how hard Cantona has been training for the swim, a daunting challenge in which the trawler, or piilot boat, is followed not just by seagulls but also jellyfish and powerful currents. Most swimmers train for over a year for the epic challenge.
Sophie Vaudin, who is swimming the channel in 2016 in memory of her sister Lara who died in 2012 and her charity, Lara's Foundation, told Jersey's Bailiwick Express earlier this year that she would be swimming 40km a week by the time she undertook the challenge, would be training every day and was having to learn to "feed" while in the water.
Cantona's swim begins on Thursday, and in his latest promotional video, declares: "Nothing is too far for Cantona."