England's World Cup-winning keeper Banks dead at 81

England World Cup winner Gordon Banks has died aged 81

Gordon Banks (1937 - 2019) was one of the greatest goalkeepers in soccer history, leading England to a 1966 World Cup win at home against West Germany.

At the next World Cup in Mexico in 1970, Banks scurried across his line and dived to his right to stop a downward header from 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.

Banks' family released a statement through his former club Stoke City on Tuesday, confirming the 81-year-old had "passed away peacefully overnight".

Gordon Banks, left, and Pele.

A post on his official Facebook profile read: "For many people, their memory of Gordon Banks is defined by the save he made against me in 1970".

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

Banks won 73 caps for England between 1963 and 1972 and made almost 200 appearances for Stoke City before his playing career was brought to an end in a vehicle crash that cost him his sight in one eye.

Gary Lineker called Banks "an absolute hero of mine", while current star Raheem Sterling said his legacy "will live on".

"A fierce opponent and a good man. Rest in peace, Gordon Banks #DieMannschaft", it tweeted.

While former Three Lions keeper David Seaman also tweeted: "So sad to hear of the passing of a true legend".

The Sky News presenter then tried to contain a chuckle before regaining his composure: "He was of course a part of England's one and only world cup - Gordon Banks, I'm sorry". He played in four cup finals for the club, as they were beaten in the 1961 and 1963 FA Cup finals, before winning the League Cup in 1964 and finishing as finalists in 1965.

One of Pickford's predecessors at Everton, Welsh icon Neville Southall, was coached by Banks, who retired from the game in 1973 having lost an eye in a auto crash in October 1972. "I played against some great players, and he was the best player I ever played against".

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