(CNN) – Bobby Charlton, the Manchester United star who played a starring role in England’s World Cup victory in 1966, has died aged 86, the Premier League club said on Saturday.
Charlton is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.
“The club’s deepest condolences go out to his wife Lady Norma, his daughters and grandchildren and everyone who loved him,” Manchester United said in a statement.
The club described him as “a hero to millions, not just in Manchester or the UK, but wherever football is played in the world”.
“He was admired for his sportsmanship and integrity as well as his outstanding qualities as a footballer; “Sir Bobby will always be remembered as a giant of the game,” the statement continued.
He played 758 games for Manchester United and scored 249 goals in his 17 years at the club.
Charlton won the league title three times, the FA Cup and the European Cup – now known as the Champions League – with Manchester United.
He also won 106 caps for England, scoring 49 goals, and played a key role in England’s World Cup victory on home soil, the only time the country won men’s football’s biggest prize.
After his retirement, Charlton was director of Manchester United for 39 years.
Manchester United’s statement continued: “His unparalleled record of success, character and service will forever be etched in the history of Manchester United and English football; and his legacy will live on through the life-changing work of the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation.”
Charlton’s older brother Jack, who played alongside him in England’s World Cup winning team, died in 2020.
Geoff Hurst – who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final – paid tribute to his former team-mate on X, formerly Twitter, calling him one of “the true greats”.
“We and all of football will never forget him. A great colleague and friend, he will be sorely missed across the country beyond sport.” Hurst said.