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World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies aged 81

England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81, his family has announced.

Banks, who revealed in 2016 that he was battling kidney cancer for the second time, died peacefully overnight.

A statement issued by former club Stoke on the Banks family’s behalf said: “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.”

Banks made 510 league appearances for Chesterfield, Leicester – with whom he won the League Cup in 1964 – and Stoke before retiring from the professional game at the age of 34 following a road accident which cost him the sight in his right eye, although he later returned briefly to the game in America.

But it was on the international stage that he established himself as a star, making his England debut in a 2-1 defeat by Scotland at Wembley in April 1963 and going on to win 73 senior caps, most famously in the 4-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966.

Gordon Banks, centre, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, left, and Pele

Gordon Banks, centre, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, left, and Pele

However, he will probably be best remembered for his heroics in Mexico four years later when he made the logic-defying save which was to define his career when he somehow managed to turn Brazil star Pele’s header over the crossbar.

England manager Gareth Southgate said on the Football Association website: “I am deeply saddened to hear of Gordon’s passing.

“An all-time great for England, I was privileged enough to be in his company on a number of occasions.

“It was particularly special to be with him at a Football Writers’ tribute dinner last year and wish him well on his 80th birthday.

Gordon Banks enjoyed an illustrious career with the likes of England, Stoke, Leicester and Chesterfield

Gordon Banks enjoyed an illustrious career with England

“Gordon spoke to the room about that incredible save from Pele against Brazil back in 1970 and moments like that from his remarkable World Cup-winning career will continue to linger long in the memory.

“On behalf of everyone connected with England, I send my condolences to his wife Ursula, his family and friends.”

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