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England great Gordon Banks dies

Gordon Banks

London, February 12: England's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died, aged 81.

Former Leicester City and Stoke City player Banks was capped 73 times for his country and was an ever-present as Alf Ramsey's team claimed glory on home soil in 1966.

Widely recognised as one of the finest goalkeepers in the history of the game, Banks produced one of the World Cup's most iconic moments four years later by pulling off an astonishing reaction save to keep out a header from Brazil great Pele in Mexico City.

A bout of illness ruled Banks out of the quarter-final clash against West Germany, who gained revenge for their 1966 final defeat as Peter Bonetti deputised.

Banks helped Stoke to the League Cup in 1972, the club's only major honour and one he won with Leicester eight years earlier, before a car accident in October of that year cost him the sight in his right eye.

That meant the end of Banks' illustrious career in England at the age of just 34, although he did enjoy a swansong in the North American Soccer League, representing Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977 and 1978 and renewing acquaintances with the likes of George Best, Pele and Carlos Alberto.

A statement from Banks' family, published on Stoke's website, read: "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.

"We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this time."

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    Story first published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 15:30 [IST]
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