Sir Robert Charlton CBE (born 11 October 1937) is an English former footballer who played either as a attacking-midfielder, central-midfielder or left-winger. Widely considered as one of the greatest players of all time, he was a member of the England team that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the year he also won the Ballon d’Or. He finished second in the Ballon d’Or in 1967 and 1968. He played almost all of his club football at Manchester United, where he became renowned for his attacking instincts, his passing abilities from midfield and his ferocious long-range shot, as well as his fitness and stamina. He was cautioned only twice in his career; once against Argentina in the 1966 World Cup, and once in a league match against Chelsea. His elder brother Jack, who was also in the World Cup-winning team, was a former defender for Leeds United and international manager. With success at club and international level, he is one of nine players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
Born in Ashington, Northumberland, Charlton made his debut for the Manchester United first-team in 1956, aged 18, and soon gained a regular place in the team, during which time he became a Football League First Division champion in 1957 then survived the Munich air disaster of February 1958 after being rescued by teammate Harry Gregg; Charlton is the last survivor of the crash from the club. After helping United to win the FA Cup in 1963 and the Football League in 1965 and 1967, he captained the team that won the European Cup in 1968, scoring two goals in the final to help them become the first English club to win the competition. Charlton left Manchester United to become manager of Preston North End for the 1973–74 season. He changed to player-manager the following season. He next accepted a post as a director with Wigan Athletic, then became a member of Manchester United’s board of directors in 1984.
At international level, Charlton was named in the England squad for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970), though did not play in the first. At the time of his retirement from the England team in 1970 he was the nation’s most capped player, having turned out 106 times at the highest level; Bobby Moore overtook this in 1973. Charlton was the long-time record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England, and United’s long-time record appearance maker – his total of 758 matches for United took until 2008 to be beaten, when Ryan Giggs did so in that year’s Champions League final. With 249 goals, he was the club’s highest all-time goalscorer for more than 40 years, until his record was surpassed by Wayne Rooney in 2017. He is also the third-highest goalscorer for England; his record of 49 goals was beaten in 2015 by Rooney, and again by Harry Kane in 2023.
- Full Name: Robert Charlton
- Position: Midfield
- Date of Birth: 11.10.1937
- Birthplace: Ashington
- Nation: England
- Full Caps: 106
- Major League Career
- 1956-73, Manchester United (606/199)
- 1974-75, Preston North End (38/8)
- More Facts
- Photo Gallery