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15 Powerful Facts About George Best

1. George Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team.

2. In 1968 he won the European Cup with Manchester United, and was named the European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

3. The Irish Football Association described him as the “greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland”.

4. One of the greatest dribblers of all time, his playing style combined pace, skill, balance, feints, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to beat defenders. Best unexpectedly quit United in 1974 at age 27, but returned to football for a number of clubs around the world in short spells, until retiring in 1983, age 37.

5. Best was one of the first celebrity footballers, earning the nickname “El Beatle” in 1966, but his subsequent extravagant lifestyle led to various problems, most notably alcoholism, which he suffered from for the rest of his life.

6. His son Calum Best was born in 1981 from his first marriage.

7. He was one of the inaugural 22 inductees into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

8. Former Brazilian footballer Pelé stated, “George Best was the greatest player in the world”.

9. Best was once quoted as saying, “Pelé called me the greatest footballer in the world.

10. That is the ultimate salute to my life.” After his death, on what would have been his 60th birthday, Belfast City Airport was renamed the George Best Belfast City Airport.

11. According to the BBC, Best was remembered by mourners at his public funeral held in Belfast as “the beautiful boy”

12. Best was brought up in the Free Presbyterian faith. His father was a member of the Orange Order and as a boy George carried the strings of the banner in his local Cregagh lodge.

13. In 1957, at the age of 11, the academically gifted Best passed the 11 plus and went to Grosvenor High School, but he soon played truant as the school specialised in rugby.

14. Best then moved to Lisnasharragh Secondary School, reuniting him with friends from primary school and allowing him to focus on football.

15. His first time moving to the club, Best quickly became homesick and stayed for only two days before going back home to Northern Ireland. He returned to Manchester and spent two years as an amateur, as English clubs were not allowed to take Northern Irish players on as apprentices.

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