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Cantona aims for French presidency

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has taken a new career path as he steps into politics and says he will campaign to run in this year's French presidential election.

Cantona, who was appointed director of soccer at future MLS side New York Cosmos last year, wrote to France's mayors in a plea for support as he attempts to gather the 500 signatures needed from them to endorse his bid.

French newspaper Liberation quoted his letter as saying: "This engagement obliges me to speak, more earnestly than usual, but also with a keen sense of my responsibility, at a time when our country faces difficult choices which will be decisive for its future."

In the letter, he said he intends to "make a simple but clear message, a message of truth but of respect, solidarity and a powerful message".

The outspoken Frenchman will be running independently and, should he get the required support, will become a candidate in the first round of the elections on April 22.

However, in an editorial, the newspaper said Cantona was only using the publicity from his unlikely presidential run to secure his real aim - help for the poorly housed.

Speaking to Liberation, Cantona said he "chose the housing issue as it seems to me to be essential and concerns tens of millions of people. I had to act at a time when I was likely to be heard."

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