giants’ first home defeat in Europe he was dubbed ‘El Beatle’.
A second title followed in 1967, and Best proved the scourge of Benfica again a year later in the 1968 European Cup Final, giving the Reds a 2-1 extra-time lead en route to a 4-1 success. Best’s 28 goals that season – he was PFA and European Footballer of the Year – made him United's top scorer, a position he retained over the next four campaigns.
As the Busby era ended and an ageing side was dismantled, Best struggled with the personal demons that would dog him until his death in November 2005.
He famously ‘retired’ to Marbella in 1972,
before coming back again and eventually leaving for good in January 1974 for a globe-trotting series of destinations taking in, among others, the rather unlikely surrounds of Dunstable Town, Fulham, Los Angeles Aztecs, Brisbane Lions and the Jewish Guild of South Africa.
As he asked, he should be remembered for the back-page headlines, not the front. And what glorious memories they are.
His 361 league appearances in Red brought 136 goals; he holds the post-War record for the most goals by a United player in a single match – six versus Northampton Town, in an 8-2 FA Cup fifth-round mauling in the 1970 FA Cup.