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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
Swansea honours its Gentle Giant
Bust of John Charles
John Charles scored 15 times for Wales and won 38 caps
A memorial to Swansea football great John Charles has been unveiled at the Liberty Stadium as his home city club played their last game of the season.

Viewed by many as the best player to have come from Wales, the former Leeds and Juventus star died three years ago.

The bust on a granite plinth with a plate detailing his career will stand as a permanent tribute at the ground.

Family and friends of the man known as the Gentle Giant were at the ceremony, along with invited guests.

It took place before the Swans' final League One game against Blackpool, although the home club were disappointed to see their promotion play-off hopes disappear in a 6-3 defeat.

Charles signed for Swansea at the age of 15, but moved to Leeds United in 1949.

After a successful spell in Yorkshire, he joined Juventus of Turin and between 1957 and 1962 won three Italian League titles and one Italian Cup.

John Charles
This bust will allow people to remember a formidable player and an amazing man
Chris Holley, Swansea lord mayor

It was during his spell in Italy that he picked up the nickname Il Buono Gigante - The Gentle Giant - as he was never booked or sent off in 155 appearances for the club.

He won 38 Welsh caps and played for his country in the 1958 World Cup - the last time Wales qualified for the finals. He died aged 72 in February 2004.

The memorial was commissioned by Swansea Council and follows tributes in Leeds which have included naming the West Stand at Elland Road in his honour.

Swansea lord mayor Chris Holley said: "John Charles was one of the greatest sportsmen Swansea and Wales has ever produced.

"It's very fitting that his magnificent career is marked with a permanent memorial and this bust will allow people to remember a formidable player and an amazing man."


SEE ALSO
City honours Leeds United legend
15 May 06 |  West Yorkshire
Gentle Giant tribute statue hope
30 Dec 05 |  South West Wales
Widow's tribute to 'gentle giant'
16 Oct 04 |  North East Wales
In pictures: Memorial to John Charles
19 Apr 04 |  In Pictures

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