Balotelli's bad boy image has frequently made him a target for the tabloids in England but the striker famously capped his role in City's 6-1 derby mauling of United in October last year - with self-deprecating humour - by lifting his jersey top to reveal a T-shirt saying, "Why Always Me?".
However, Cantona, who is regarded as one of the most colourful characters in the history of English football, has questioned the pre-meditated actions of footballers who pre-plan goal celebrations.
The Frenchman believes he played the game with passion and that all his celebrations, gestures and even run-ins with the laws of the game - including the infamous kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan - were spur-of-the-moment.
"I dreamt of being a footballer, of doing great things, of crying and laughing after a victory, of exploding with joy," Cantona said at the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona.
"It is about spontaneity.
"I never had anything on a T-shirt, never calculated anything. Every action is unique, every reaction unique."
City and United are currently locked in a fierce tussle at the top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures which see City travelling to Swansea while United host in-form West Brom.
City hold a two-point lead at the top of the table.