Cantona, who hung up his boots in 1997 to become an actor, spoke out about the refugee crisis on Thursday, urging French people to be willing to take in those who may need lodging.
“King Eric” as was known during his time in Manchester said France had a duty to refugees because of the strife it had helped to cause in the Middle East and Africa
“We create wars for economic reasons and then people flee their countries because we’ve created chaos and we care not even capable of receiving them,” Cantona told Le Parisien newspaper.
Asked whether he would be willing to take in refugees at his home Cantona said: “Of Course. Certainly. And it would be good if the 65 million French people would all be willing to accept them.”
Cantona who is currently appearing in a stage production at the Théâtre Hébertot said he would not vote for President François Hollande in 2017.
“I voted for him in 2012 but I will spoil my ballot (vote blanc) in 2017,” he said, before criticising the Socialist government for turning to the right on economic policies.
“We don’t want to welcome too many migrants because 55 percent of French people are against it and because the National Front are rising in popularity, we will venture on their terrain,” said Cantona.
His appeal to the French public comes as a new poll suggests the mood towards refugees in the country is changing.
The latest opinion poll now shows a majority of French people are now in favour of welcoming more refugees.
Some 53 percent of the public say they are now favourable compared to 43 percent at the beginning of the month.
The change in mood has been put down to the outpouring of emotion following the publication of the photo of the drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.