Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 15:57 UK

Pele unveils statue of hero Banks

Gordon Banks
Banks said it would be an emotional day

Footballing legend Pele is to honour a fellow sporting great when he unveils a statue of former Stoke City and England star Gordon Banks.

The England 1966 World Cup-winning keeper made what has been dubbed the greatest save ever from a Pele header in the 1970 tournament in Mexico.

Banks, who played for Stoke between 1967 and 1972, will be at the ceremony at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will help unveil the bronze statue.

It's fantastic and of course being alongside Sir Stanley, who I met, knew and played against
Gordon Banks

Mr Banks, who also played for Leicester City and Chesterfield during his career, told BBC News that it was a "fantastic" honour for him.

A permanent memorial to another Stoke City legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, was unveiled at the stadium in October 2001.

Earlier this year when the plans for the Banks statue were announced, he said it was "marvellous" Pele was unveiling it as he remained the best player he had ever seen.

He said: "It has to be the biggest (honour) doesn't it because how many people get a statue in their honour? "It's very big for me and very emotional.

Gordon Banks
His save against Pele has been dubbed the greatest ever

"It's fantastic and of course being alongside Sir Stanley, who I met, knew and played against and coupled with Stoke City getting promoted.

"It was organised before they got promoted so it really has fallen together beautifully."

Several former footballers have been confirmed for the match between a Banks XI and a Pele XI - Luther Blissett, Ian Rush, John Barnes, Jan Molby, Peter Bonetti, Matt Le Tissier and Mike Pejic.

Cricketer Dominic Cork, actor James Nesbitt, MP James Purnell, film director Paul Greengrass and musicians from Kasabian and The Twang will also play in the game.

Pele previously visited Stoke-on-Trent in 1969 when his side Santos played a friendly against Stoke City, winning 3-2, the Brazilian legend scoring twice past Banks.

The statue - made by local artist Andrew Edwards - is the brainchild of Irish author Don Mullen who has written a book about the star called The Hero Who Could Fly.

Pele will unveil statue of Banks
17 Jan 08 |  Staffordshire
Pele backs England World Cup bid
07 Nov 07 |  Football
World Cup history - Mexico 1970
27 Apr 06 |  World Cup 2006

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