Manchester United winger George Best was delighted to receive the prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy for being European Footballer of the Year.

The date is April 1969, just before the league match against Burnley which the Red Devils won 2-0. Best was on the scoresheet along with an own goal from Colin Waldron.

Sharing the spotlight with Best are fellow players and previous Ballon d’Or winners Bobby Charlton, suited, and Denis Law. Charlton was awarded the coveted trophy in 1966, England’s World Cup-winning year, and Law in 1964.

Watching the proceedings with pride is outgoing United manager Sir Matt Busby. He was stepping down at the end of the season after 24 years at the helm to be replaced by Wilf McGuinness.

Fast forward 31 years to August 2000 and Best, Charlton and Law are back on the Old Trafford pitch once again to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from the club.

The presentation took place at halftime during the Premier League match between the Red Devils and Newcastle United. The result was again a 2-0 win for United with goals from Andrew Cole and Ronny Johnsen.

Known as the United Trinity, Best, Charlton, and Law are commemorated by a statue unveiled outside Old Trafford in 2008.

Team-mate Paddy Crerand summed them up by saying: ‘However tough the match was, you always knew Bobby could unleash one of his strikes from God-knows-where, Denis would make something out of nothing inside the box or George would just do something magical.

Featured Image, Best wins coveted Ballon d’Or – Source – Manchester Then and Now, iNostalgia Publishing/Mirrorpix

Malcolm Pheby
Former daily newspaper editor and group editorial director for leading national media brands, Malcolm is a regular contributor to iNostalgia.

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