Manchester City FC paid tribute to "a true legend in the true sense of the word" following the death of their former goalkeeper Bernd 'Bert' Trautmann at the age of 89.
Manchester City FC are mourning the death of their former goalkeeper Bernd 'Bert' Trautmann at the age of 89.
The German died on Friday at his home in La Llose, near Valencia, and City – whom he represented from 1949–64 – were quick to give him his due, calling him "a true legend in the true sense of the word and a wonderful ambassador for not only his country, but Manchester City Football Club". The club added: "Bert will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and the football world in general."
The goalkeeper famously came to England as a prisoner of war, finding his calling between the posts after swapping places with an injured custodian during a friendly game. Staying in England after the end of the war, he played for St Helen's Town FC and impressed in a friendly against City, who signed him in 1949.
Trautmann made his name in the 1956 FA Cup final, playing to the end of a 3-1 win despite suffering what was later diagnosed as a broken neck.
He was to make 545 appearances for City, and while he never played for Germany, he was remembered fondly by German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach. "Bert Trautmann was a great athlete and a true gentleman," he said. "He came to England as a soldier and a prisoner of war, but he became a celebrated hero. His extraordinary career will forever stay in the history books."