Perdre le nord

French soccer player Éric Daniel Pierre Cantona was born on May 24, 1966. His career took him to eight different cities in France and England, as well as the French national team for nine consecutive years. He had quite a temper that got him into regular trouble for hitting other players, confrontations with the French Football Federation (soccer is football everywhere other than in North America), and even fans. Here is footage of his famous kung fu kick of a fan in 1995 that led to all sorts of legal trouble. Cantona finished his professional career playing for Manchester United where he was voted their finest player ever and nicknamed “The King.” He had 181 professional career goals.

After his soccer career was over, Cantona parlayed his handsome appearance into a career as an actor. He has appeared in 20 different films since 1995, including Elizabeth in 1998, in which he played the role of a French diplomat.  He has also been the coach of the French beach football team since 2005. On December 7, 2010, he called for people to withdraw all their money from the big banks as a protest against the big financial institutions. Whether in sports or politics, Cantona knows how to stir up trouble.

 Today’s expression, perdre le nord (peardruh luh nor), literally means “to lose north” as in, the compass when one has lost one’s way. Figuratively, it means to lose control. Éric Cantona knows a little about that!

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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