Five of the best: George Best goals

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When George Best died on November 25 2005 the world of football mourned not only one of the game's most talented ever players, but perhaps the greatest of icons.

Best mesmerised defences and women seemingly at will during a career lived very much in the public glare, and a finer talent has never graced these illustrious footballing shores.

Today would have been Best's 66th birthday and, in tribute, GMF takes a look back at the some of the Manchester United legend's finest goals…

Benfica v Manchester United - 1968

It will never be regarded as one of the most beautifully executed of Best's 204 career goals, but his strike in the European Cup final against Benfica was surely the Northern Irishman's most significant.

Bobby Charlton had provided United with the lead at Wembley, but a goal from Jaime Gra├ža with 15 minutes remaining ensured the game went into extra time.

Just three minutes into the first half, Best rounded the goalkeeper to put United ahead once again, and gave his team the drive to finish off their Portuguese opposition.

Brian Kidd made the score 3-1 just a minute later, before Charlton got on the scoresheet once again as United celebrated one of the finest nights in their illustrious history.


Manchester United v Sheffield United - 1971

Famed for his dazzling dribbling and supreme skill, best also possessed searing pace, and had the ability to leave defenders for dead when he turned on the after-burners.

No example of his speed was greater than this goal against Sheffield United, where the one thing on his mind is to drive into the penalty area as quickly as possible.

Picking the ball up some 40 yards from goal, Best assesses his options before putting his head down and streaking past no fewer than four white shirts on a direct diagonal run.

As the 'keeper advances from his line, Best then sends the ball in the opposite direction past the Blades shot-stopper, just as the former is about to lose his balance.


Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - 1971

Finesse is an attribute Best could boast to have in abundance, while his vision was equally as impressive.

The two qualities join forces in this goal, as Best takes the aerial route to find the net with a sea of Tottenham players guarding Pat Jennings' net.

Jennings makes a hash of his clearance as he is challenged for the ball, with the resulting parry finding the feet of Best, who had been lurking with intent near the edge of the area.

With seven players between himself and the goal, Best is presented with no clear path to the net but, requiring just one touch, lifts the ball delicately over everyone and into the goal.


San Jose Earthquakes v Fort Lauderdale Strikers - 1981

After a brief spell with Fulham in the late 1970s Best, like so many other players at the time, chased the Yankee dollar and moved to the now defunct North American Soccer League.

Best first joined the Los Angeles Aztecs, before moving to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and then onto the San Jose Earthquakes.

It was during his time with San Jose that Best scored, perhaps, the best goal of his career; displaying amazing trickery and powers of ball retention to embarrass three Fort Lauderdale defenders.

Best jinks past the opposition defence no fewer than four times, toying with them in almost menacing fashion, before completing the job with a clinical finish.


George Best testimonial - 1988

When playing a testimonial game, the player for whom the match is in honour often finds himself with the opportunity to score from the penalty spot after a somewhat dubious decision from the referee.

In his testimonial at Windsor Park in 1988, Best was afforded the chance to net a penalty - which he did, of course - but there was no hint of collusion regarding his other goal of the evening.

With no signs of a man with a 42-year-old body impinged by problems with alcoholism, Best manages to score a quite breathtaking goal which, had it been in a competitive fixture, would surely rank among the best ever.

Picking the ball up some 25 yards out, Best takes the opportunity to move the ball out his feet before chipping the ball into the top corner without even looking at the goal, and leaving the 'keeper completely flummoxed.

(Skip forwards to 3min15 secs to see the goal in question)


What are your favourite memories of George Best? Let us know in the comments section below...

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