The world of football is celebrating with Sir Bobby Charlton as he turns 80 on October 11, and the legendary player has shared a glimpse of of his evergreen memories from life.
Football players and coaches, including ex-England and Manchester United winger David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs, among many others, paid tributes in honor of the hero.
Unarguably considered one of the best midfielders to ever grace our world, Charlton left his mark on the sands of time as part of the England team which won the 1996 World Cup.
For his 80th birthday, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) sponsored a documentary to mark Charlton’s life and career.
The former Manchester United player was remarkable for his vision, strength and goal-scoring ability. His longstanding record was broken, only recently, by Wayne Rooney, who also shared his joy and respect for the man.
“I owe everything to Sir Bobby because, if not, maybe I wouldn’t have had the chance of living my dream of playing for the club that I’d supported. I went to the Bobby Charlton soccer school, ended up winning the competition, and Sir Bobby contacted Manchester United and said ‘maybe you should have a look out for this young kid’ and that’s how my career with United started – with Sir Bobby.” David Beckham said.
“He has always been about being successful, but even more so about helping other people. That’s what’s so special about him – he’s respected on the field, but even more so off the field.”
Cautioned only twice in his career, in a league match against Chelsea and during a 1966 World Cup encounter with Argentina, Sir Charlton was seen as a fair player.
Dennis Law, a former teammate at United and a good friend, said: “Bobby was simply one of the best players there has ever been. He had such a fantastic career, achieving so much, and what a nice guy as well. Playing with great players like Bobby – or Sir Robert as I like to call him – made the game so much easier. The pitches now are like bowling greens. If we’d had those pitches like that back then, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi might not have got a mention – I’m joking of course, they’re two of the greatest players of all time, but Bobby certainly belongs in that bracket with them.”
Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to the football icon saying, “He’s so unassuming. He’s never used his fame to help himself. Success can change people – it never changed Bobby Charlton. That’s fantastic. Everywhere you go, when you say you’re from Manchester, it’s ‘Sir Bobby Charlton? Bobby Charlton?’ I’ve watched that bit when they won the European Cup in 1968 and what it meant to him – and Sir Matt Busby and Bill Foulkes – because they were the survivors of the Munich air disaster. You could see I their faces what it meant to them. That was the special moment – probably the greatest moment, I think – of his life.”
Sir Bobby Charlton survived the 1958 Munich air disaster which killed a number of his Busby babes team-mates.