Gordon Banks tributes: Pele and Germany pay respects to England legend who has died aged 81February 12, 2019
Banks, forever remembered for that save against the Brazil icon in 1970, passed away peacefully overnight, his former club Stoke announced.
And in a lengthy, heartfelt post repeated in full below, Pele said: "Rest in peace, my friend. Yes, you were a goalkeeper with magic. But you were also so much more. You were a fine human being."
Gareth Southgate, Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker, Sir Geoff Hurst and Raheem Sterling were among a number of Three Lions icons to pay their respects to the man regarded as the country's best ever goalkeeper.
Gazza posted: "So sorry to hear the news of my good friend Gordon Banks who passed away a few hours ago. What a loss and an unbelievable goalkeeper and an incredible man, a really true gentleman RIP mate."
Sterling tweeted: "Of course there was THAT save, but it's so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks. @England legend, your legacy will live on. All my thoughts with the family."
Three Lions legend Lineker wrote: "Oh no. Gordon Banks, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died.
Pele's heartfelt tribute to Gordon Banks
For many people, their memory of Gordon Banks is defined by the save he made against me in 1970. I understand why.
The save was one of the best I have ever seen – in real life and in all the thousands of games I have watched since.
When you are a footballer, you know straight away how well you have hit the ball. I hit that header exactly as I had hoped. Exactly where I wanted it to go. And I was ready to celebrate.
But then this man, Banks, appeared in my sight, like a kind of blue phantom, is how I described him.
He came from nowhere and he did something I didn't feel was possible. He pushed my header, somehow, up and over. And I couldn't believe what I saw. Even now when I watch it l, I can't believe it. I can't believe how he moved so far, so fast.
I scored so many goals in my life, but many people, when they meet me, always ask me about that save. While it was indeed phenomenal, my memory of Gordon is not defined by that – it is defined by his friendship. He was a kind and warm man who gave so much to people.
So I am glad he saved my header – because that act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure. Whenever we met, it was always like we had never been apart.
I have great sadness in my heart today and I send condolences to the family he was so proud of.
Rest in peace, my friend. Yes, you were a goalkeeper with magic. But you were also so much more. You were a fine human being.
"@England's World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. #RIP Gordon."
Sir Geoff, Banks' former team-mate who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over West Germany, said: "Very sad to hear the news that Gordon has died.
"One of the very greatest. Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert. Sad for football, Stoke City and for England fans. Will be very sadly missed."
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Former England keeper Peter Shilton wrote: "I'm devastated – today I've lost my hero. Our condolences to his family RIP Gordon."
Current Three Lions boss Southgate said: "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."
Ian Wright recalled the advice Banks had given him on how to beat keepers.
The SunSport columnist and England legend tweeted: "We used to always speak about finishing. His advice to me was to try and catch keepers early – "get the shot away early" he'd say.
"In 1970 we saw one of the greatest crosses, met by one of the greatest headers and saved by one of the greatest goalkeepers. RIP GB."
Sir Bobby Charlton said: "Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper and I was proud to call him a team-mate."
When Banks' career was cut short at age of 34 after car crash nearly blinded him
GORDON BANKS' career was cut short after a car crash nearly blinded the World Cup-winning keeper.
Banks was driving home from Stoke's Victoria Ground in his Ford Consul, after getting treatment on a minor injury in October 1972.
But as he went to overtake another vehicle, the he was involved in a head-on collision with a van.
He woke up in hospital and surgery had been carried out on his eyes.
Shards of glass had perforated his right eye and damaged the retina and he knew then that his playing days were numbered aged just 34.
He was given a 50-50 chance of seeing again in his right eye.
He later recalled: "One day I leaned over to pick up a cup of tea on my bedside table and was shocked to grasp thin air. That’s when the reality of my situation hit home.
"I remember thinking if I can’t even get the angle right to pick up a cup of tea, how will I ever judge the flight and speed of a football again?"
After getting himself back to fitness throughout the rest of the season, Banks chatted to Stoke manager Tony Waddington and told his boss it was over.
Four years later, Banks went on to play in the North American Soccer League, where many of Europe's most famous exports including George Best and Franz Beckenbauer played out the twighlights of their careers.
Banks played 37 games for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers before retiring with 558 club appearances to his name and 73 England caps.
Michael Owen tweeted: "Sad to hear that Gordon Banks has passed away at the age of 81. Had the pleasure of meeting him a number of times and he was one of the game's true gentlemen, not to mention one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Rest In Peace."
Peter Reid, who won 13 caps for England, said: "RIP Gordon Banks, LEGEND."
Ex-England shot-stopper David Seaman wrote: "So sad to hear of the passing of a true legend."
Harry Maguire, hero of England's World Cup run to the semis last summer, posted: "A World Cup winner, a legend. RIP Gordon Banks."
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And Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy said: "Legend… RIP Gordon Banks."
Stoke's official statement 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."
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