Sir Bobby CharltonThe legendary Sir Bobby Charlton easily is the most naturally gifted English player ever. He now serves as a footballer ambassador, making him the most celebrated, respected, and influential ambassador ever in the game's history. Bobby scored 49 goals for England, becoming the team's record goalscorer. Besides, he broke the 100-cap barrier, earning himself a spot among soccer royalty.
The knight commander of the British Empire is a FIFA 100 inductee. He won the 1966 European Footballer of the Year and became the first-ever PFA Merit Award winner in 1974.
Booby was born in 1937 in Ashington, a mining village in Northumberland, which explains his fascination with Newcastle United. Also, he is the nephew of the legendary Jackie Milburn.
Manchester United CareerBobby joined the Manchester United team at the age of 15 while still at school. His debut was in a game against Charlton Athletic, where the young Bobby managed a brace. He remained with the red devils for 17 years, scoring 249 goals in 758 appearances, the second-leading goal scorer of all time.
He won the first title with his team in the 1956/57 season. During the following season, a perfect hat trick cemented his place in the first team. In February 1958, Manchester United secured a spot in the European Cup semi-finals, but as fate would have it, disaster happened on their way from an away engagement. Eight United regulars were among the 21 people that perished in the Munich air crash.
Bobby, aged 20 then, survived and recovered from both the traumatic experience and his injuries. The coming years saw him write history for both Manchester United and England.
Combining his signature ability, robust tackling, body swerves, and recognizable thunderbolt shot, he became the epitome of both speed and grace. However, it is his unrivaled sense of fair play, unmatched modesty, and gentlemanliness that hoisted him to the ultimate sporting hero's pedestal.
Bobby started as an inside forward. However, he switched to the deep-lying forward in 1965, the same year the team won the First Division league championships. Manchester United repeated the same feat in 1967.
In 1968, he captained the Red Devils to the European Cup (now the UEFA Champions League) title, scoring twice to give his team a 4-1 win over SL Benfica Lisbon. The win made Manchester United the first English team to achieve the feat.
International AssignmentBobby debuted for England in 1958, playing as a defensive midfielder in a game against Scotland. He scored a goal and assisted England beat their rivals 4-0.
In 1962, he helped England reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup, scoring his first World Cup goal against Argentina. In 1966, he inspired his country to win the World Cup, making the year his best on the international stage.
Coaching RolesCharlton retired in 1973 and soon tried his hand in coaching. He started with Preston North End in 1975. However, Bobby did not coach for long. He stepped down as the Preston North End coach in 1975, the same year he was appointed to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
He returned to the pitch and played briefly for Waterford United and Australian teams Newcastle KB United, Perth Azzurri, and Blacktown City.
In 1983, he took up a directorship role at Wigan Athletic, doubling as the caretaker manager. He also played in South Africa. Since retiring from playing, Bobby has built up several businesses, run soccer schools, and is on the board of directors at Manchester United.