One of the greatest footballer ever to kick a ball, England and Manchester United’s 1966 World Cup winning hero Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with dementia.
The shock news has been revealed by the former Manchester United star’s wife Norma.
Lady Norma confirmed the sad news, hoping that revealing the diagnosis ‘could help others’.
Days ago Nobby Stiles, another member of England’s World Cup winning squad, died at the age of 78.
Sir Bobby went on to be a Manchester United hero, while brother Jack was the same at Leeds.
Sir Bobby played every minute of England’s stunning World Cup triumph of 1966, with brother Jack also an integral member of the squad.
He went on the win the much-revered Ballon d’Or later that year and is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
The 83-year-old scored 249 goals in 758 games for Manchester United, helping them to their first ever European Cup win in 1968. He also survived the horrific Munich Air Disaster in 1958 in which great players like Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor died.
At international level Sir Bobby netted 49 times in 106 games for England, despite playing in midfield.
Sir Bobby’s diagnosis will strengthen calls for the link between football and dementia to be explored more vigorously.
Stiles, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton and Ray Wilson have all died since 2018 after living with dementia.
Former England striker Shearer made a powerful BBC documentary in 2017 investigating whether there is a link between heading footballs and the brain syndrome.
Stiles’ family featured on the programme after the Manchester United icon was revealed to be suffering from advanced dementia in 2016.
Shearer believes serious questions need to be answered, especially as footballs were heavier in the past.
And he added that funding for ground-breaking research is due to run out next year.
Sir Bobby Charlton and Democrat editor Bill Heaney.
Forever a football hero, Bobby Charlton was no stranger to West Dunbartonshire. He was invited here to the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Golf Club and we travelled together with our wives, Lady Norma and Bernadette, to Rossdhu, where we had lunch and watched the play for a day. Earlier, I had been his guest in Manchester at a United versus Tottenham Hotspur game at Old Trafford, which United won 3-1.
Needless to say Sir Bobby was both the perfect guests and the perfect host. We are sure he will be the perfect patient and that he and Lady Norma will get through this illness with great courage and good wishes from everyone.