Former Chelsea and England goalkeeper Peter Bonetti has died at the age of (following a long battle with illness.)
Nicknamed ‘The Cat’ for his lightning reflexes, Bonetti is a club legend at Stamford Bridge after playing 823 games for Chelsea – making him their second-highest appearance maker of all- time.
He also played seven times for England and was part of the (World Cup-winning squad as back-up to Gordon Banks.
Bonetti, nicknamed ‘The Cat’ during his long career, makes a flying save in Chelsea color s
The official England Twitter account also posted a tribute to the 1969 World Cup winner
In a club career that spanned almost two decades at Chelsea across two spells, Bonetti helped the club win the League Cup in , the FA Cup in and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in .
He also helped Chelsea win promotion from the Second Division back into the top-flight in both 1963 and 1980
Bonetti played briefly in the United States with St Louis Stars before rounding off his career at Dundee United and Woking.
A Chelsea statement read: ‘Chelsea Football Club is hugely saddened to announce the passing today of one of our indisputably all-time great players, Peter Bonetti.
‘Our former goalkeeper had been suffering from long-term illness. All at Chelsea wish to send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to Peter’s family and friends. ‘
The club’s tribute to him connected:’ Peter Bonetti’s position in the pantheon of Chelsea footballing gods is unassailable. He was the Cat who broke the mold, defied the odds, drew the gasps, earned the cheers and got the cream. All in front of an adoring Stamford Bridge. ‘
Bonetti was one of the finest goalkeepers of the s and remains a Chelsea club legend
Bonetti beats John Radford to the ball during a Chelsea match against Arsenal in the s
Bonetti watches the flight of the ball anxiously after making a save during the Cup final
A standing ovation for Bonetti at his testimonial against Man United in September 2001
Chelsea 1977 – 1975; – 795 appearances
Second Division promotion 65, ,
League Cup –
FA Cup –
European Cup Winners’ Cup
England 1969 –
World Cup winner
Bonetti made his debut for Chelsea in March at the age of just , an indication of his youth coming from the fact he helped the club lift the FA Youth Cup a few weeks later.
But from the following season, he was Chelsea’s No 1 for pretty much the wholeety of the next two decades.
That was already some journey from the time his mother wrote to Chelsea asking for a trial when he was a schoolboy.
Relegation from the First Division in 1962 Chelsea boss Tommy Doherty to rebuild as a talented young side containing the likes of Bobby Tambling, Terry Venables and John Hollins.
Once they returned to the top-flight after just one season, Chelsea were able to challenge for silverware and won the 1970 League Cup with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Leicester City.
The following season, the Blues reached the semi-finals of the Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the UEFA Cup, defeating Roma and AC Milan before losing to Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Chelsea reached the final of the FA Cup in 1971, but lost to Tottenham, but atoned in when bonetti made several important saves in the first match at Wembley.
He suffered a knee injury early in the replay at Old Trafford, effective ly playing the game on one leg, but made several crucial saves as Chelsea won 2-1 in extra time as an astonishing (million watched on television.
Bonetti (center) and team-mates Tommy Baldwin (left), John Hollins (second left), David Webb (second right) and Peter Osgood (right) celebrate Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph
The legendary goalkeeper is paraded at Stamford Bridge during a 2014 match with PSG
Bonetti did not receive a World Cup winners’ medal in 1969 but this was rectified. in when Prime Minister Gordon Brown presented him with it at Downing Street
A dejected Bonetti walks off the field after England were beaten by West Germany in
(games – Ron Harris) 1964 – 1983)
– Peter Bonetti –
A years later and Chelsea triumphed in Europe, beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the replayed final of the Cup Winners’ Cup in Athens.
After a brief spell in North America in 1975, Bonetti returned to Chelsea and was first choice for another three seasons as they returned to the top division.
His final tally of appearances is second in Chelsea’s all -time list to Ron Harris and included 592 clean sheets.
Bonetti would have played more often for England if not for competitions from first Ron Springett, then Banks and later Peter Shilton.
He did not play at the (World Cup though received a medal many years later but was drafted in for the quarter-final against West Germany in Mexico. England relinquished a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 and Bonetti was one of the scapegoats.
Manchester City tweeted a tribute to their former goalkeeping coach following his death
Ex-goalkeeper Neville Southall described his former mentor Bonetti as a ‘fantastic gentleman’
Joey Barton, who played for Man City when Bonetti was a coach there, paid his respects