Sir Bobby Charlton said he was "so proud" of being awarded the freedom of the city of Manchester today. The Manchester United legend, who helped England win the FIFA World CupTM in 1966, revealed he was humbled to receive the honour.
The 71-year-old will be given the freedom of Britain's third-biggest city at a town hall ceremony. "I'm just so proud, it's fantastic. It's a great city. I have always been very proud of it. It's never been afraid to try things. It's a brave decision-making city," Charlton said.
He joins Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in having the honour. "I've worked in Manchester ever since I was 15, but I'm a Geordie and I come from the north-east and I am really proud about that," Charlton added. "I feel humble when you see the other names on the wall. I'm really proud for my family and Manchester United."
Charlton said his proudest moment in football was captaining United to victory in the 1968 European Cup final. He put his success down to his work ethic.
An attacking midfielder, Charlton survived the 1958 Munich air disaster and made 758 appearances for United between 1954 and 1973, helping them win three league titles and an FA Cup. His 49 goals for England remains unsurpassed.
"Everybody around the world knows about his exceptional career as a footballer, both for Manchester United and for England," said Sir Richard Leese, leader of the Manchester City Council.
"Perhaps less people know about the wonderful job he has done as an ambassador for Manchester. He's helped us with the Olympic bid, he's helped us with the Commonwealth Games. He's been a fantastic ambassador for the city. This is an opportunity for the city of Manchester to say thank you by bestowing what is the biggest honour we can bestow on anyone."