top 10 greatest football players of all time - 8 - George Best

10 November 2011 09:05

At the age of 15, Best was discovered in Belfast by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, whose telegram to United manager Matt Busby read: "I think I've found you a genius."

He reached dizzying heights with his outrageous skills in a career that lasted a mere six years at the top, where he became the first real football celebrity, before self-destructing.

In those six magical seasons with United, he scored 115 goals in 290 games - six of them in one game! He won two League Championships, the European Cup and was voted European Football of the Year. Pele named him as his favourite player, which was remarkable considering Best's international career with Northern Ireland never allowed him the opportunity of appearing in the World Cup finals.

Best was in many ways the perfect footballer on the field, being quick, two-footed, able to pass with accuracy at all ranges, dribble and with a deadly imagination in front of goal given half a chance.

Widely considered the best football player ever produced in Britain and it could be argued he may have become greater still. In his native Northern Ireland, the admiration for him is summed up by the local saying: "Maradona good; Pelé better; George Best."

Honours: In 1968, he won the European Cup with Manchester United, and was named the European Footballer of the Year. In 1999, he was voted 11th at the IFFHS European Player of the Century election, and 16th in the World Player of the Century election. Pelé named him as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list and Best was named 19th, behind Gerd Müller, at the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.

Full nameGeorge Best
Date of birth22 May 1946
Place of birthBelfast, Northern Ireland
Date of death25 November 2005 (aged 59)
Place of deathLondon, England
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing positionWinger
Attacking midfielder

George Best image

Source: DSG