Welsh football legend Charles dies at 72

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The Independent Online

Tributes poured in yesterday after the death of Welsh football legend John Charles, who died in hospital aged 72.

Charles, who left Swansea as a teenager to play for Leeds, was a star of the 1958 World Cup for Wales - the last time the country qualified.

He had been suffering from Alzheimer's and heart problems. Earlier this month his right foot was amputated in Milan due to gangrene caused by circulation problems, one month after heart surgery.

Known as the "Gentle Giant", he won 38 caps for Wales. After his time at Leeds United, Charles played for Italian giants Juventus, where he scored 93 goals in 155 matches. He achieved the notable feat of never being booked or sent off throughout his career.

Last night Wales' first minister Rhodri Morgan said: "We have lost one of the greatest Welshmen of the 20th century."

Leeds called him "one of the greatest players the game of football has known. In one season he scored 42 league goals - a record that still stands."

And Juventus vice-president Roberto Bettega said: "We mourn a great champion and a great man."

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