John Charles. R.I.P

Last updated : 21 February 2004 By Michael Morris
The 72 year old passed away in Yorkshire after returning from Italy. Charles was taken ill while abroad and returned home last week at the expense of Juventus who flew him back in their own jet.

The giant striker was a legend in Wales, in Leeds, where he played for many years and in Italy where he was idolised.

Charles starred for Wales in the World Cup in 1958. He was awarded a CBE in 2001. He should have received a knighthood and despite many campaigns it never came. Charles was never booked or sent off in his career and amongst his goalscoring feats he once scored 42 goals in 39 games during one season for Leeds and for Juventus he managed 93 goals in 155 games.

John Charles ended his career playing for Cardiff City.

"We would like to convey our deepest sympathies to the family and Mrs Charles," FAW Secretary General David Collins told Sky Sports. "He was one of our greatest players and will be a great loss.

"I met him only a few weeks back and could well remember as a teenager seeing John play at the World Cup in 1958.

"It is a sad day for all of Wales and those who were fortunate enough to see him.He was a huge man, but a gentle giant was a very apt name for him.

"To have witnessed him play was a tremendous honour."

John Charles. R.I.P.