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Legendary English footballer Gordon Banks dies at age 81

  • 12 Feb 2019

Gordon Banks, who played in every game of the 1966 campaign on home soil, is probably best known for a wonder save he produced to deny Brazilian great Pele in the 1970 World Cup.

"Banksie," as he was known, started his club career at Chesterfield before spells with Leicester (1959-67) and Stoke (1967-73) in the top division of English football. ( Reuters Archive )

Gordon Banks, the legendary World Cup-winning England goalkeeper who was also known for blocking a shot from Pele that many consider being the greatest save in football history, has died. 

He was 81.

English football club Stoke, one of Banks' former teams, posted a statement from his family on Twitter on Tuesday.

No cause of death was given.

Known for his reflexes, Banks was one of English football's most revered players after helping the team win the 1966 World Cup on home soil.

He conceded only one goal in five games before England beat West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Four years later at the next World Cup in Mexico, Banks scurried across his line and dived to his right in an attempt to stop a downward header from Pele. Banks managed to reach the low ball his right hand and scoop it over the crossbar.

"Pele actually shouted 'Goal' as he headed it," Banks later said.

The England national team's Twitter account posted a video of the save on Tuesday.

"As well as helping the #ThreeLions to glory in 1966, Gordon will be remembered for THAT save against Brazil four years later. A true England legend," the England team wrote alongside the video.

Brazil eventually won that group game 1-0 and then went on to win its third World Cup title.

n this file photo taken on December 15, 1969 Stoke City's goalkeeper Gordon Banks dives during an English Division One football match 15 December 15, 1969 in Stoke.(AFP Archive)

Banks had played in 73 internationals when he was forced to retire in 1972, at the age of 35, after losing the sight in his right eye in a car accident. He lost one of his kidneys to cancer in 2005 and revealed in 2015 that he was facing another battle against cancer.

"If I could make a save like the one against Pele, while playing against the greatest in the world, then I will be able to battle through this health problem," Banks said then.

"Banksie," as he was known, started his club career at Chesterfield before spells with Leicester (1959-67) and Stoke (1967-73) in the top division of English football.

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