Eric Cantona is preparing to run as a candidate in the forthcoming French presidential election, according to reports.
The former Manchester United and Leeds United footballer described himself as "a citizen very much aware of our times" in a letter to city mayors which was obtained by French daily Libération.
Cantona - who would need signatures from 500 elected officials in order to challenge incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy - said in his letter: "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."
Citing concern about social injustice and a lack of opportunities for young people, Cantona also said that he wanted to draw attention to the country's housing issue, "as it seems to me to be essential and concerns tens of millions of people".
The elections will take place in April, with a run-off between the top two candidates in May if no candidate receives over 50% of votes in the first round.
Cantona, who is now director of football for New York Cosmos, has focused on an acting career since retiring from football in 1997.
He appeared alongside Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Eccleston in period drama Elizabeth, and also played a version of himself in Ken Loach's 2009 comedy-drama Looking for Eric.
Musician Youssou N'Dour last week launched a bid to become president of Senegal, while Wyclef Jean considered running for the Haitian presidency in the wake of last year's earthquake, but ultimately abandoned his campaign.