England’s 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died aged 81, his family says.
In a statement, released by Banks’ former club Stoke City, his family 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.”
Presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “Oh no. Gordon Banks, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died. @England’s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. #RIPGordon.”
The former Leicester, Stoke and Chesterfield man is widely regarded as one of the game's greatest keepers
Ex-England striker Michael Owen added his tribute: “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.”
Banks made a total of 73 appearances for England during his career, including every game of the victorious 1966 World Cup campaign.
However, the save he produced to deny Pele four years later, during a group stage clash with Brazil, marked his defining moment on the international stage – and is still widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
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His save from a header by Pele in the 1970 World Cup has gone down in history
England and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling tweeted: “Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks. @England legend, your legacy will live on. All my thoughts with the family.”
Along with a World Cup-winner’s medal, Banks also picked up six Fifa Goalkeeper of the Year awards.
And at club level he managed two League Cup wins – the first with Leicester in 1964 and Stoke in 1972.
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.