1968: George Best Named European Footballer of the Year

Best admires his Golden Ball alongside runner-up Bobby Charlton, manager Matt Busby and striker Denis Law.

1968 and for the third time in five years the Golden Ball returned to a player from the ranks of Manchester United. After Denis Law (1964) and Bobby Charlton (1966) it was the turn of Belfast’s George Best to be crowned European player of the year.

Best was the architect of United’s victory over Benfica at Wembley in the European Cup, making United the first English club to lift the Cup with the big ears.

Best edged out teammate Bobby Charlton by a mere 8 points to win the award and at only 22 years of age he seemingly had the world at his feet.

But sadly this would prove to be the high-point of Best’s footballing career, and five years later Best walked away from Old Trafford and top flight football at the tender age of 27.


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