Ruddock worried Cantona would kill him on first game after infamous kung-fu kick

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Neil ‘Razor' Ruddock thought Eric Cantona was going to kill him after he began winding the Frenchman up on his first game back from his infamous kung-fu kick ban, he has revealed.

The Manchester United icon was renowned for his temper as much as his talent, and in 1995 he received a nine-month ban for unleashing a kung-fu style kick on a Crystal Palace supporter.

Razor Ruddock was on the other side of the pitch in a clash between United and rivals Liverpool on the Frenchman's comeback game.

Ruddock was a player also known for his on and off-field antics, once reportedly spending two nights boozing with Nelson Mandela.

And, speaking on the All to Play For podcast, Neil perhaps unsurprisingly revealed that he saw Cantona’s return to the pitch as an ideal opportunity to wind him up – by messing with his famously upturned shirt collar.

Explaining how events unfolded, the prankster described how he used to enjoy winding up opposition players in order to motivate himself during games.

Referencing Cantona in particular, the defender said: “He used to wear his collar up – I used to put it down. I Carried on, and he said, ‘I’ll fight you in the tunnel’, I went ‘yeah of course you will you n**’.

“He was going to kill me after. Robbie Fowler scored and I was going ‘1-0’. “It was his first game back after his Kung-Fu kick…”

Ruddock accepted that, despite his long lay-off, his Premier League rival was so good that he needed to find a way of distracting him from performing.

“I’ve got to get into his head, like Di-Canio, and then all he’ll want to do is fight me,” he continued.

“So I’ve turned his collar down and he wants to fight me. I was doing it at goal kicks, Schmeicel was kicking it and I was doing it and getting out of his way.

“So the ball’s dead, and I’ve done it. He’s swung for me, and as I've turned round he’s toe-punted me…. I do it again, and do it again."

Eventually, in the game’s final moments, Manchester United won a penalty, with Cantona equalising to bring the game to 2-2.

And, as the game began to reach its conclusion, Ruddock’s thoughts turned to the forward’s threats of a confrontation in the tunnel.

“So I’m striding to the half-way line and he’s saying, ‘come on fat boy’, and I get to the half-way line, and I’m getting out of my head thinking, ‘f**k me, he is big’.”

After the game ended, Razor recalled that the threats continued into the tunnel, until huge goal-keeper David James was forced to intervene, saving his team-mate from a possible kicking

“David James ripped his gloves off, and Cantona went and legged it up the tunnel,” Ruddock laughed.

Since retiring, both ex-footballers have traded stadium floodlights for the television spotlight; Cantona has appeared in cider adverts, while Razor has admitted that reality TV saved his life after uncovering a string of health problems.

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  • Liverpool FC
  • Neil Razor Ruddock
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Jamie Vardy
  • Marcus Rashford
  • Premier League

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