Man United FC

Photos – Sir Bobby Charlton’s 86th birthday

No one exemplifies the core values of Manchester United quite like Sir Bobby Charlton. His enduring legacy is deeply rooted in the resilience he displayed when, at the tender age of 20, he emerged from the harrowing Munich Air Disaster.

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Playing with the spirit of those he lost, he recovered from his own injuries to achieve the highest honors for both his beloved club and his nation.

In a remarkable 17-year career with the Red Devils, he graced the pitch 758 times and found the back of the net 249 times – records that stood until the likes of Ryan Giggs in 2008 and Wayne Rooney in 2017 finally eclipsed his remarkable achievements.

Sir Robert Charlton CBE, born on October 11, 1937, is a legendary English footballer who showcased his immense talent in various roles on the pitch, from attacking midfielder to central midfielder and left-winger.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history, he was an integral part of the England squad that triumphed in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, a year that also saw him claim the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

His brilliance saw him secure second place in the Ballon d’Or rankings in both 1967 and 1968.

Throughout his illustrious club career, largely with Manchester United, he gained fame for his attacking prowess, remarkable passing abilities, thunderous long-range strikes, as well as his outstanding fitness and stamina.

He received a mere two cautions in his entire career – once during the 1966 World Cup against Argentina and once in a league match against Chelsea.

His older brother, Jack, was also part of the World Cup-winning squad and had a successful career as a defender for Leeds United and an international manager.

With his exceptional achievements at the club and international levels, he is one of a select group of nine players who have secured the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or.

Born in Ashington, Northumberland, Charlton made his debut for Manchester United’s first team in 1956, at the tender age of 18.

He swiftly established himself as a key player, helping the team clinch the Football League First Division championship in 1957.

His resilience was perhaps best exemplified when he survived the tragic Munich air disaster in February 1958, with teammate Harry Gregg playing a pivotal role in his rescue; to this day, Charlton stands as the sole survivor of that fateful crash among his club peers.

After contributing to Manchester United’s FA Cup victory in 1963 and their Football League triumphs in 1965 and 1967, he led the team to a historic European Cup win in 1968. In the final, he showcased his prowess with two crucial goals, propelling Manchester United to become the first English club to claim the prestigious title.

Charlton later left the club to serve as the manager of Preston North End for the 1973-74 season, subsequently transitioning to a player-manager role the following season.

He later took on the position of director at Wigan Athletic before joining Manchester United’s board of directors in 1984.

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