Manchester United and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton turns 80

Manchester United have re-named the South Stand at Old Trafford after Sir Bobby Charlton

Manchester United and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton turns 80 on Wednesday - we look back at what made him so special on the football pitch.

Few English players can match the achievements of Sir Bobby, who won three top-flight league titles, a European Cup and, most famously, the World Cup.

His career is synonymous with United, where he spent 17 years and finished as the club's record appearance maker and goalscorer.

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Both of those records have since been broken by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, respectively, but his legacy at the club lives on.

The South Stand at Old Trafford has since been renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand and Sir Bobby remains a United club director.

To celebrate his birthday, we have selected 10 facts that demonstrate his unique place in English football history...

Wayne Rooney and Sir Bobby Charlton
Image: Wayne Rooney has surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's Manchester United goalscoring record

1) Sir Bobby Charlton is one of only four English players to win the Ballon d'Or, the others being Sir Stanley Matthews, Kevin Keegan and Michael Owen.

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2) He won the prestigious award in 1966, receiving just one vote more than Portugal and Benfica forward Eusebio, who settled for second place. It is the joint-smallest margin of victory alongside Matthias Sammer's 1996 win over Ronaldo.

Bobby Charlton (with Alan Ball) raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air  following England's win over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley
Image: Bobby Charlton (with Alan Ball) raises the Jules Rimet trophy following England's win over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley

3) Charlton received just two yellow cards over the course of his club and international career - and one of those was only confirmed 32 years later. In 1998, prior to England's World Cup clash with Argentina, FIFA confirmed both Charlton brothers. Jack and Bobby, were booked during the bad-tempered World Cup quarter-final between the two nations in 1966. Bobby, who was not aware of the yellow card at the time, was booked for dissent.

4) He captained the Manchester United team that won the European Cup in 1968, scoring two goals in the final against Benfica to help United become the first English side to win the competition.

Manchester United 1968 European Cup final Bobby Charlton trophy
Image: Sir Bobby Charlton (right) holds the European Cup aloft after victory over Benfica

5) In 2011 Charlton was voted the fourth greatest Manchester United player of all time, behind Giggs, Eric Cantona and George Best.

6) He is the only England player to feature in four World Cup squads - 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970.

Bobby Charlton (with Alan Ball) raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air  following England's win over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley
Image: Bobby Charlton (with Alan Ball) raises the Jules Rimet trophy following England's win over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley

7) He was named on the FIFA 100 - Pele's list of the "greatest living footballers" - chosen in 2004. Alan Shearer, Gordon Banks, Michael Owen, Gary Lineker, Kevin Keegan and David Beckham were the other English nominees.

8) As a director at Manchester United, he was a key figure in the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986.

30/9/67 - City 1 United 2: Title races between Manchester clubs isn't new. United secured a crucial three points with Bobby Charlton's double to edge ahead
Image: Sir Bobby Charlton in action for Manchester United against rivals City

9) Charlton is one of only three Englishman - alongside Nobby Stiles and Ian Callaghan - to have won the World Cup and the European Cup.

10) Football is in Charlton's blood, his uncles were Jack Milburn (Leeds United), George Milburn (also Leeds), Jim Milburn (also Leeds) and Stan Milburn (Chesterfield, Leicester) and the legendary Newcastle forward Jackie Milburn was his mother's cousin.

Watch Liverpool v Manchester United: The Countdown with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville live on Sky Sports Premier League on Friday at 6pm.

And don't forget, Liverpool host Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday with coverage starting from 11.30am.

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