Eric Cantona is set to run for the French presidency, according to the newspaper Liberation.
His entry into the race could shift the goal posts for incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, who is currently being beaten in the polls by socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
The former Manchester United player, who will need to gather 500 officials' signatures by the end of February to run, has reportedly sent letters to mayors asking for their support.
Cantona describes himself as an "engaged citizen" in the letter, adding: "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."
The former footballer denounced "systematic" inequality in France, and has previously spoken out against social injustice.