Friday, November 25, 2005

George Best is dead

Soccer great George Best has died at age 59.

Best humiliated defenders and frustrated coaches during his wayward career. He scored 180 goals in 465 appearances for Manchester United, helping the team win the 1968 European Cup. He also played in the North American Soccer League, scoring 54 goals in 139 games for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes.

Pelé once called Best, "the best player in the world." Best said viewed this as the honor it was and said, "Pele called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life."

Unfortunately Best was also one of the great drinkers of the world and often missed important events (interviews, TV commentary, games, etc.) due to his drinking. This also led to him needing a liver transplant three years ago. He had been in and out of the hospital since Oct. 1 due to complications related to infection and reactions to medication meant to control his drinking.

Best was told never to drink again after his liver transplant, but he went back to his old ways and was regularly seen at pubs. He once said, "Unfortunately there is no solution to alcohol, you can't make it go away. Drink is the only opponent I've been unable to beat."

In his lighter moments he could give some good quotes. Most of them had to do with drinking ("In 1969, I gave up women and alcohol and it was the worst 20 minutes of my life." or "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."), but one of his best know is about David Beckham:

"He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right."

Best is survived by his son Calum.


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