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Sir Bobby: Di Stefano was the best

Sir Bobby: Di Stefano was the best


Sir Bobby Charlton dispenses advice at the Football Federation training ground on July 26 with Cambodian future stars.

English football legend Sir Bobby Charlton and southern California's skateboard king

Tony Hawk aren't the original odd couple, but they do make a strange pair. Charlton

is one of the best-known names in football, playing 106 times for England and scoring

a record 49 goals. He was a member of England's world champion side in 1966, and

narrowly avoided the fatal 1958 Manchester United plane crash when he swapped his

seat at the last minute.

Hawk is the best-known extreme sport athlete in the world-the man who almost single-handedly

transformed skateboarding from a delinquent pastime into a viable profession. After

turning pro at age 14, he was acknowledged as the world's best just two years later.

He retired from competition in 1999 having won 12 world championships.

Despite starkly divergent career paths, an aim to help disadvantaged children in

developing countries has bought the two together in Cambodia. Charlton, 69, and Hawk,

39, were recently in Cambodia as guests of the Spirit of Soccer program, which aims

to educate children about the dangers of landmines via professional soccer training.

They spoke with Lachlan Forsyth on July 26.

What's [Manchester United manager] Sir Alex Ferguson like to drink with?

We don't really socialize, but everything revolves around football. He thinks football,

he talks football.

Who would you have liked to play alongside?

Alfredo Di Stefano. I think he was just the most amazingly talented player. I was

very lucky because I got to play with Denis Law and George Best.

Who was the best player you ever saw?

Alfredo Di Stefano. But there were so many players who were good for different reasons.

Pelé. At speed, Diego Maradona was just so dangerous. Franz Beckenbauer.

Are today's footballers better or worse behaved than the players in your day?

I think they're much the same. They're still fouling, still tackling. Some are trying

to take the tackling out of football - but that's part of football.

What about off the field?

No, I think they're much the same.

Are you happy to be able to claim to be part of the only World Cup winning English


No, I don't think I've ever thought that...I've never thought that I'm better or

more successful than anyone else.

Why is football so popular around the world?

It's the simplicity. It's eleven players trying to get the ball in the goal, and

another eleven players trying to stop them. It's a game for everyone. Anyone can

play it no matter what size or shape they are.

What is your favorite memory from your playing days?

Just playing.


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