Eric Cantona has claimed Ken Loach's style of directing was reminiscent of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's approach to management.
The former footballer, who has since forged a successful acting career, plays himself in Loach's Looking For Eric, nominated for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
The comedy-drama sees British actor Steve Evets as a postman and Red Devils fan whose life is changed by visions of Old Trafford legend Cantona.
The Frenchman, who played for Ferguson between 1992 and 1997, said of the Scottish manager and award-winning director Loach: "They are very similar.
"These are two activities that are totally different, but the way they go about getting 100 per cent out of the actors or the players is very similar," he told the BBC.
"The great difficulty is to maintain your quality from match to match, from film to film."
The 42-year-old added: "Ferguson and Ken Loach are where they are because they have an enormous amount of humility."
Evets, 49, revealed he was unaware he would be starring alongside the flamboyant and controversial French star in Looking for Eric.
"They'd got him in there like a military operation behind this curtain," he explained as the film debuted in Cannes.
"There he was, bang, in my room - it was dead surreal.
"It was like an acid trip condensed into one minute. I was in a scene with Eric Cantona."