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  Monday, 2 December, 2002, 00:03 GMT
Best nets lifetime honour

George Best with his Lifetime Achievement Award
Best looked frail but happy

George Best has been honoured with the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

The former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star, whose life has been plagued by alcohol addiction, shrugged off ill health to accept the trophy.

Best was arguably the first British footballing superstar during his time at Old Trafford, and was honoured in recognition of his footballing achievements.


I'm still around, although a little thinner than before
George Best

Billed as the "fifth Beatle", he was named Footballer of the Year and European Player of the Year in 1968 during a distinguished playing career.

He earned 37 international caps for Northern Ireland and at club level picked up two championship medals with United as well as inspiring them to a 4-1 win over Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final.

Best said: "It's lovely to be recognised in this manner so long after having finished my football career.

  Best factfile
1946: Born May 22 in Belfast
1963: Makes debut for Man Utd
1964: Makes Northern Ireland debut
1965: United win the league championship
1968: Voted English and European footballer of the year
1970: Sent off for Northern Ireland for throwing mud at ref
1972: Walks out on United aged 26

"I feel I achieved everything I dreamed of as a child. I also feel I played in the best team in Europe if not the world with some very special players."

The former United striker singled out former manager Sir Matt Busby for helping shape his career.

He also paid tribute to his father Dickie.

Former England international Gary Lineker, who co-hosted the awards ceremony, was quick to praise Best.

Lineker said: "George Best is one of the greatest footballers of all time, who brought pleasure to millions over the years. I am delighted that he has won this award."

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 ON THIS STORY
Lifetime achievement winner George Best
"This is a reward for all I've achieved"
In-depth section on the big BBC awards

Radcliffe triumphs

Awards

Winners in profile

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