Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, has died aged 81.
The news was announced in a statement from the Banks family on his former club Stoke City’s official website.
It said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight.
“We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.
“We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this time.”
Banks made 510 league appearances for Chesterfield, Leicester and Stoke and won 73 senior international caps. He was one of the stars of England’s 1966 World Cup final triumph against West Germany.
He will always be remembered for a remarkable save he made to deny Brazil superstar Pele four years later in Mexico.
Banks lost the sight in his right eye after being injured in a road accident in 1972 and retired at the age of 34 as a result.
‘The greatest ever save’
His status as an all-time great may have been sealed at the 1966 World Cup, but it was the save Gordon Banks produced to deny Pele four years later which became his defining moment on the international stage.
The goalkeeper’s spectacular stop in a group-stage clash with Brazil during England’s defence of the trophy in Mexico is widely regarded as one of the greatest saves of all time.
Banks, who has died at the age of 81, flung himself to his right and, in a feat which seemed to defy the laws of physics, somehow managed with one hand not only to keep Pele’s powerful downward header out, but also flick the ball over the bar.
‘An absolute hero’
Footballing icons past and present took to social media to share their condolences.
Gary Lineker called Banks ‘an absolute hero of mine’, while current star Raheem Sterling said his legacy ‘will live on’.
Leicester City – one of his former clubs – posted they were saddened to hear of the news, while existing Foxes man Harry Maguire called Banks ‘a legend’.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 12, 2019
Sad to hear that Gordon Banks has passed away at the age of 81.
Had the pleasure of meeting him a number of times and he was one of the game’s true gentlemen, not to mention one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/yj4JYZIaag
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) February 12, 2019
More to follow…
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