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| Monday, July 18, 2005

Being tagged as "Manchester United legend" ex-Manchester United player Eric Cantona and Hong Kong's heavenly king appeared together at the opening ceremony of Kwun Tong's apm shopping mall. The total production fees of the activity was a 8-figure amount as the mall had a Manchester United house where private photographs of each player were displayed and fans can photograph with actual size photograph images of the players.

As Andy and Cantona had many fans, thus the activity attracted around 3000 onlookers, the venue was conjested and crowded, luckily order was maintained and no chao situation. A mustachioed and long-haired Cantona made an appearance with a few young soccer players which immediately create cheers and whistles, however his reaction was rather softer than "local product" Andy whom wore a Beatles T-shirt (Beatles were from Liverpool which is Manchester United's rival, it can be considered that Andy had chosen to wear the wrong T-shirt.)

When asked about his impression of Hong Kong, 39-years-old Cantona answers through an interpreter: "I came to Hong Kong last year, its weather is good, I love the fans of Hong Kong." With regards to his motive of coming to Hong Kong this time round, he says: "Most importantly to promote Manchester United Soccer Academy, delighted to see so many people support this mall."

After watching Cantona demostrate the juggling of a soccer ball twice, Andy was asked to imitate but whenever Andy start, he will take a deep breathe which shows that he's nervous as he might disgrace himself.

Later Andy demostrate his calligraphy skills as he guide Cantona to write his own name.

Cantona did rather well, as he started writing from the center of the paper thus it's not long enough thus he manage to write only 2 characters - 'jian dong' where Andy help him to write the 'na' on the top empty space of the paper thus his name became 'na jian dong'.

Andy and Cantona exchanges gift for keepsake, Cantona gave Andy an autographed photograph and soccer ball whereas Andy gave him a 'jian dong na' calligraphy.

At the backstage, Andy revealed that this is his first meeting with Cantona, when asked if they communicate? Andy quipped: "He asked me who am I." Cantona does not know that Andy is a superstar? He says: "He does not know, I told him but I did not know if he believes me, I never expect him to be so tall."

When talked that his reactions from the audience are louder than Cantona's, he quipped: "Of course, here is Hong Kong, but he's great." When asked whom's more stylish? Andy says: "It's different, the Chinese will say that I'm stylish whereas Western will say he's stylish."

When asked if he will show off his autographed photograph to Manchester United fan Hacken Lee, he quipped: "He should have one himself, I might auction it off for charity, I never expected that I can attend an activity with Cantona."

Andy exclaimed that his favourite soccer player is Ronaldinho and claim that he scared of disgrace himself when he juggle the ball. Andy added that he didn't photograph together with Cantona as when Cantona's assistant see his assistant carrying a camera, Cantona's assitant kept asking for long periods, to avoid any trouble and gave Cantona some privacy, no photographs were taken.

Cantona did held an autograph session which last less than 10 minutes.

news from: Apple Daily News, Wei Wen Po, Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily News, Sun News, SingTao News, MingPao