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George Best
George Best
Personal information
Full name George Best
Date of birth 22 May 1946(1946-05-22)
Place of birth    Belfast, Flag of Republic Ireland Northern Ireland
Date of death    25 November 2005(2005-11-25) (aged 59)
Place of death    London, England England
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Winger
Attacking midfielder
Youth clubs
1961–1963 Manchester United
Senior clubs
Years Club App (Gls)
1963–1974
1974
1974
1975
1975-1976
1976
1976-1977
1977–1978
1978–1979
1979–1980
1980–1981
1980–1982
1982
1982
1983
1983
1983
1983
1984
Total
Manchester United
Jewish Guild (loan)
Dunstable Town (loan)
Stockport County
Cork Celtic
Los Angeles Aztecs
Fulham
Los Angeles Aztecs
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Hibernian
San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose Earthquakes (indoor)
Sea Bee
Hong Kong Rangers
Bournemouth
Brisbane Lions
Osborne Park Galeb
Nuneaton Borough
Tobermore United
 
361 (137)
0000(0)
0000(0)
0000(2)
0000(0)
023 0(15)
042 00(8)
032 0(12)
028 00(6)
017 00(3)
056 0(21)
021 0(33)
0000(0)
0000(0)
0000(0)
0000(0)
0000(1)
0000(0)
0000(0)
604 (238)   
National team
1964–1977 Northern Ireland 037 00(9)

George Best (22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005) was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. In 1968 he won the European Cup with United, and was named the European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. He is described by the national team's governing body, the Irish Football Association, as the "greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland".

Born and brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Best began his club career in England with Manchester United, who had spotted his talent at the age of 15. He went on to see success with United, scoring 179 goals from 470 appearances over 11 years. His playing style combined pace, acceleration, balance, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to beat defenders. Best unexpectedly quit United relatively early in 1974 at age 27, but returned to football for a number of clubs around the world in short spells, until finally retiring in 1983, age 37. In international football, he was an automatic choice when fit, being capped 37 times and scoring nine goals from 1964 to 1977, although a combination of the team's performance and his lack of fitness in 1982 never allowed his talent to be displayed in the finals of a European Championship or World Cup.

Such was Best's talent and charisma that he became one of the first celebrity footballers, but his subsequent extravagant lifestyle led to various problems, most notably alcoholism, which he suffered from for the rest of his adult life. These problems affected him on and off the field throughout his career, at times causing controversy. He often said of his career that "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered". After football he spent some time as a pundit, but his financial and health problems continued into his retirement. He died in 2005, age 59, due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after being controversially granted an NHS liver transplant in 2002. Best was married twice, to two former models, Angie Best and then Alex Best. His son, Calum Best, was born in 1981 from his first marriage.

Before he died, Best was voted 16th in the IFFHS World Player of the Century election in 1999 and was one of the inaugural 22 inductees into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002; in 2004 he was also voted 19th in the public UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll and former Brazilian footballer Pelé, considered by many as the world’s greatest, admired Best. He named George Best as the world’s greatest ever player, stating, “George Best was the greatest player in the world.” Pelé added later that Best was “an unbelievable player.” Best was once quoted as saying, “Pelé called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life.” After his death, on what would have been his 60th birthday, Belfast City Airport was renamed the George Best Belfast City Airport. According to the BBC, Best was remembered by mourners at his public funeral held in Belfast as "the beautiful boy" [with a] "beautiful game".

External links

Ballon d'Or / European Footballer of the Year winners

1956: Matthews · 1957: Di Stéfano · 1958: Kopa · 1959: Di Stéfano · 1960: Suárez · 1961: Sívori · 1962: Masopust · 1963: Yashin · 1964: Law · 1965: Eusébio · 1966: Charlton · 1967: Albert · 1968: Best · 1969: Rivera · 1970: Müller · 1971: Cruyff · 1972: Beckenbauer · 1973: Cruyff · 1974: Cruyff · 1975: Blokhin · 1976: Beckenbauer · 1977: Simonsen · 1978: Keegan · 1979: Keegan · 1980: Rummenigge · 1981: Rummenigge · 1982: Rossi · 1983: Platini · 1984: Platini · 1985: Platini · 1986: Belanov · 1987: Gullit · 1988: van Basten · 1989: van Basten · 1990: Matthäus · 1991: Papin · 1992: van Basten · 1993: Baggio · 1994: Stoichkov · 1995: Weah · 1996: Sammer · 1997: Ronaldo · 1998: Zidane · 1999: Rivaldo · 2000: Figo · 2001: Owen · 2002: Ronaldo · 2003: Nedvěd · 2004: Shevchenko · 2005: Ronaldinho · 2006: Cannavaro · 2007: Kaká · 2008: C. Ronaldo · 2009: Messi · 2010: Messi · 2011: Messi · 2012: Messi · 2013: Ronaldo 2014: Ronaldo

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