MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Bobby Charlton, an English soccer icon who survived a plane crash that decimated a Manchester United team destined for greatness to become the heartbeat of his country’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, has died. He was 86.
A statement from Charlton’s family, released by United, said he died Saturday surrounded by his family.
An extravagantly gifted midfielder with a ferocious shot, Charlton was the leading scorer for both United (249 goals) and England (49 goals) for more than 40 years until being overtaken by Wayne Rooney.
Charlton made 758 appearances for United from 1956-73, playing alongside George Best and Denis Law in the so-called “Trinity” that led United to the 1968 European Cup after surviving the 1958 Munich crash which wiped out the celebrated “Busby Babes” team. He won three English league titles and one FA Cup with United.
Charlton played 106 matches for England, including every minute of the team’s World Cup-winning campaign in which he scored three goals.
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