The passing of time inevitably adds to the mystique of legendary players but George Best’s flame has always shone bright and true.
Born in Belfast on this day (22 May) in 1946, football’s first true superstar – on and off the field – burst onto the scene in 1963 as a wiry teenager and his dazzling skill, ballerina poise and lionhearted courage lit up the game.
Sir Matt Busby had unearthed a gem and Best would become a key figure in Manchester United’s rise to the top, helping the team claim two league titles and European Cup final glory in 1968. By the time he left the club in 1974, the winger had amassed 470 appearances and scored 179 goals, his place in football’s pantheon long since secure.
For many who were lucky enough to see him in action, there has never been anyone better than Best, a player with magic in his boots whose death in 2005 prompted an unprecedented outpouring of grief and whose legacy is still felt keenly today.
Our video features several of the Northern Irishman’s finest moments in a red shirt and tributes from, among others, Busby, Sir Bobby Charlton and Paddy Crerand.
This feature was first published in September 2013 to mark 50 years since Best's debut.