Gordon Banks, World Cup winning goalkeeper for England in 1966, dies at age 81

Gordon Banks, England's most storied goalkeeper and winner of the 1966 World Cup, has died at age 81. One of the best goalkeepers in the history of the sport, Banks was named FIFA goalkeeper of the year on six separate occasions and was remembered by many for producing one of the world's greatest saves against Pele in the 1970 World Cup . 

"Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had," England captain at the 1996 World Cup Sir Bobby Charlton said, according to BBC.

"I was proud to call him a teammate. Obviously we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that.

"Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele."

On June 7, 1970 at the World Cup, England, the reigning champs, fell 1-0 to Brazil in the group stage in a tournament the South American side went on to win. In that game, Banks produced one of the most iconic saves in the history of the sport, making an unbelievable diving stop on Pele:

Banks spent most of his club career with Leicester City and Stoke City, and he even played in the United States with the Cleveland Stokers in 1967 and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers from 1977-78.

Clubs, national teams and players took to social media on Tuesday to express their condolences and show gratitude towards a legend:

England honors its star

Harry Kane pays respect

Respect from a rival

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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