Football: Charles fighting cancer

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JOHN CHARLES, the former Wales international who played for Leeds and Juventus, is suffering from bladder cancer. Charles, 67, is in remission after receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy for the illness.

A Leeds spokesman said: "Everybody at the club wishes him all the best, Anything we can do to help him we will."

Charles, known as the Gentle Giant during his playing days, was equally adept as a striker or at centre-half and is rated by many as the greatest British footballer of his era, the finest Welsh player of all time and the most successful British football export. He broke into the Leeds first team at just 17, was capped by Wales before his 19th birthday and transferred to Juventus in 1957 for a then record fee of pounds 65,000.

In 155 League appearances in Italy over five years he scored 93 goals, 29 of them coming in his first season in Turin. He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I have some good days, some not so good. But you have to keep going."

Charles, who was never sent off or booked during his career, still attends every Leeds home game and is an active member of the Leeds United ex-Players' Association. Along with another Elland Road old boy, Peter Lorimer, he tours the after-dinner speaking circuit raising money for charity. To date he has helped to buy 24 kidney machines for local hospitals.