Chelsea have confirmed that club legend Peter Bonetti has passed away at the age of 78 after suffering from long-term illness.
The former-goalkeeper – nicknamed “The Cat” made an astonishing 729 appearances for the club across two spells from 1960 to 1979.
Well respected during his playing days, he was part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad and made a total of seven appearances for the Three Lions between then and 1970. He received his medal in 2009 alongside the other non-playing members of the Alf Ramsey’s side.
“Chelsea Football Club is hugely saddened to announce the passing today of one of our indisputably all-time great players, Peter Bonetti,” a statement read on Chelsea’s official club website.
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“Our former goalkeeper had been suffering from long-term illness. All at Chelsea wish to send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to Peter’s family and friends.”
As well as standing as the Blues’ all-time second-highest appearance maker – behind only his teammate Ron Harris – Bonetti helped guide the side to glory on numerous occasions during his time at the club.
Lifting the FA Youth Cup in 1960, his first taste of silverware in the men’s game came in 1965 when he started both legs of the League Cup final triumph over Leicester City, keeping a clean sheet in the second leg.
Next came the FA Cup in 1970, a final that went to a replay against Leeds United. He again started both games and ensured a tight 2-1 victory for Chelsea after extra time.
The following year Bonetti started in Chelsea’s UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup triumph over Real Madrid. After a 1-1 draw in the initial final, the Blues went to a replay yet again where goals from John Dempsey and Peter Osgood saw them beat the Spanish giants.
Bonetti was also part of the promotion-winning sides of 1963 and 1977.