Bobby Charlton dead: Manchester United legend leaves England in mourning

England World Cup winner and Manchester United great Bobby Charlton, described by the club as a “giant of the game”, has died at the age of 86, it was announced on Sunday morning.

Charlton passed away after a battle with dementia just a week after celebrating his birthday.

Charlton was a key member of England’s victorious 1966 World Cup team and also enjoyed great success at club level with United, who became the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968, a decade after members of the team were killed in an air crash in Munich.

England World Cup winner Geoff Hurst and former Manchester United star David Beckham led the tributes after the news broke.

Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 final for England against West Germany with Charlton in the team, described him as “a great colleague and friend”.

“Very sad news today, (one) of the true Greats Sir Bobby Charlton has passed away,” Hurst wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“We will never forget him & nor will all of football.

“A great colleague & friend he will be sorely missed by all of the country beyond sport alone.” Beckham said Charlton had a huge influence on his career — and his Manchester United-loving father had named him after him.

“It all began with Sir Bobby. Sir Bobby was the reason I had the opportunity to play for Manchester United,” Beckham posted on Instagram.

“I will be forever grateful to a man I was named after, someone I looked up to and was a hero to many around the world not just in Manchester and our country where he won the World Cup in 1966.

“A true gentleman, family man and truly a national hero… Today isn’t just a sad day for Manchester United & England it’s a sad day for football and everything that Sir Bobby represented.”

Former England forward Gary Lineker described Charlton as “England’s greatest ever player”.

“Deeply saddened to hear that Sir Bobby Charlton has died,” Lineker said on X. “A truly wonderful footballer and genuinely lovely man. A World Cup winner, (Manchester United) great and, for me, England’s greatest ever player.

“He may no longer be with us but he’ll have footballing immortality. RIP Sir Bobby.” Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said Charlton was the club’s “greatest ambassador”.

“So sorry to hear the news of Sir Bobby Charlton,” the broadcaster and former England right-back said.

“The Greatest English Football player and Manchester United’s greatest ambassador.

“A champion on and off the pitch and a Busby Babe that paved the way for all to come at United.

“Rest In Peace Sir Bobby.” For former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, Charlton was a “true gentleman” and “Mr Manchester United” — and recalled words he had exchanged with him when United won the European Cup for the third time in 2008.

“Icon, Legend, Great! these words are thrown around by all of us to many who 100% don’t deserve them, especially when you compare them to man of Sir Bobby’s calibre,” Ferdinand said on X.

“What a true gentleman of not many words, but when he spoke you stood still, stopped what you were doing and listened.

“A lot of the history was living and breathing through him and he was a constant at the club while I was there — travelling with us all over the world.

“Win, lose or draw he would be in the changing room wishing us well. “The words he shared with me at the bottom of those stairs in Moscow, before I went up to lift the CL trophy will stay with me forever.

“It was a privilege for me to even get that moment with him at that specific time. Thank you Sir Bobby. Mr Manchester United.” United great Eric Cantona posted on Instagram: “Rest in Peace dear Sir Bobby Charlton. One of the best of all time.” Current Manchester United midfielder Casemiro posted on X: “European Cup winner, World Cup winner, Ballon d’Or winner and one of the greatest Manchester United players of all time.

“Lifting the European Cup of 1968 with Red Devils was an absolute milestone for the legendary history of our club.

“Rest In Peace Sir Bobby Charlton.” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Charlton “has a place in history as one of the game’s greatest players and was hugely loved. Rest in peace Sir Bobby.”

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