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The English gent
Around the Academy:

Bobby Moore
Football's most famous number six shirt
Bobby Moore

Pace and heading ability are two vital qualities for a centre-back.

Bobby Moore had neither.

But his unique ability to read the game made him the world's best defender.

"Reading the game" is all about anticipation and timing: Moore relied on his brain as much as his feet.

It was joked that he knew what his opponents would do even before they did - and that he was two seconds ahead of everyone else on the pitch!

But it was no laughing matter to the numerous strikers who found Moore an impossible barrier to pass.

Just when they thought they were past him, Moore would simply stick out a leg and trot gracefully away with the ball.

Bobby Moore
In West Ham colours

His outstanding passing ability meant he could swiftly turn defence into attack.

He was more skilful on the ball than most midfielders and got plenty of assists.

Off the pitch Moore was down-to-earth and a gentleman - an ambassador for England much like David Beckham is today.

The respect - combined with his cool head - made him a superb leader.

He was just 25 when he captained England to their greatest ever triumph in the 1966 World Cup Final.

But most feel he peaked in 1970, when he gave one the finest defensive displays ever seen against the all-conquering Brazilians.

His good friend Pele later called him "the greatest player I ever played against".

And there is no higher praise than that.

Verdict: Not only a uniquely gifted defender, but also a model for a how a footballer should conduct himself.



Football's legends
Pele
Diego Maradona
Johan Cruyff
Bobby Moore

Moore factfile
Born: England, 1941
Caps: 108
Goals: 2
Likely to say: "Cor blimey guv'nor, anyone fancy a pint?"
Unlikely to say: "Think I'll just hoof this ball into touch"

Did you know?
Moore once went in goal for West Ham and saved a penalty - only to concede the rebound!



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