Winning England goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies at 81

Gordon Banks' famous save for England

Gordon Banks' famous save for England

Tributes for England's 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper have been flooding in since the passing of Gordon Banks was announced early on Tuesday but perhaps none of his peers was more inextricably linked to the six-time Federation Internationale de Football Association goalkeeper of the year than Pele, who said that he "will always treasure" the friendship borne from their rivalry.

However, his ever-present role in England's 1966 World Cup triumph is what Banks will be most fondly remembered for, alongside his miraculous save to deny Pele in a fixture against Brazil at the 1970 tournament.

A bout of illness ruled Banks out of the quarter-final clash against West Germany, who gained revenge for their 1966 final defeat as Peter Bonetti deputised.

"Whenever I saw him, he said: 'Gordon, I travel all over the world and people talk about the goals I scored, but when I come to England, all they talk about is that save that you made against me", Banks said.

'We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him. "Even though I was on the pitch I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele".

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His death was confirmed by his former club Stoke City which tweeted a statement from his family.

Gordon Banks has died, his family announced.

England's official Twitter account tweeted: "We're deeply saddened to hear that Gordon Banks, our #WorldCup-winning goalkeeper, has passed away".

"It was particularly special to be with him at a Football Writers" tribute dinner past year and wish him well on his 80th birthday.

Despite a vehicle crash in 1972, causing him to lose sight in one eye and meaning he never played top-flight football again, Banks was named the second-best keeper of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.

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"I have great sadness in my heart and I send condolences to the family he was so proud of".

On learning of his old mucker's passing, the 78-year-old Brazilian icon took to Facebook to share his thoughts, revealing that he remains "glad" Banks saved his shot, for it kick-started decades of friendship between the two.

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"If I could make a save like the one against Pele, while playing against the greatest in the world, then I will be able to battle through this health problem, " Banks said then. Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert.

The former Stoke City man was also incredible at saving penalties. "Will be very sadly missed".

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