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One of the very greatest - Charlton, Southgate & Hurst lead Banks tributes

12 February 2019 13:08

England great Bobby Charlton described his pride at playing alongside Gordon Banks after the World Cup-winning goalkeeper passed away aged 81.

As well as starring for Leicester City and Stoke City, Banks earned 73 caps for his country and was England's starting goalkeeper as they won the World Cup on home soil in 1966.

One of Banks' saves at the following tournament in 1970, from Brazil great Pele, is widely acknowledged as one of the finest stops of all time.

And both the final triumph and Banks' individual heroics against Brazil were referenced by many fellow sporting icons as they reflected on his life on Tuesday, with Charlton still unable to comprehend the Pele save.

"Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had," Charlton said.

"I was proud to call him a team-mate. Obviously we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that. Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele.

"Gordon will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time."

England manager Gareth Southgate added in a statement: "I am deeply saddened to hear of Gordon's passing.

"An all-time great for England, I was privileged enough to be in his company on a number of occasions. It was particularly special to be with him at a Football Writers' tribute dinner last year and wish him well on his 80th birthday.

"Gordon spoke to the room about that incredible save from Pele against Brazil back in 1970 and moments like that from his remarkable World Cup-winning career will continue to linger long in the memory.

"On behalf of everyone connected with England, I send my condolences to his wife Ursula, his family and friends."

Several other stars past and present took to social media on Tuesday to announce their sadness at Banks' passing.

Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 final, described the goalkeeper as "one of the very greatest".

"Very sad to hear the news that Gordon has died. One of the very greatest," he wrote on Twitter. "Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert. Sad for football, Stoke City and for England fans. Will be very sadly missed."

Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne and some notable adversaries also added their condolences.

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