Sir Robert Bobby Charlton CBE (born 11 October 1937) is an English former football player, regarded as one of the greatestmidfielders of all time, and an essential member of the England team who won the World Cup and also won the Ballon d'Or for European Footballer of the Year in 1966. He played almost all of his club football at Manchester United, where he became renowned for his attacking instincts and passing abilities from midfield and his ferocious long-range shot. He was also well known for his fitness and stamina. His elder brother Jack, who was also in the World Cup-winning team, is a former defender for Leeds United and international manager.
Born in Ashington, Northumberland, Charlton made his debut for the Manchester United first-team in 1956, and over the next two seasons gained a regular place in the team, during which time he survived the Munich air disaster of 1958 after being rescued by Harry Gregg. After helping United to win the Football League in 1965, he won a World Cup medal with England in 1966 and another Football League title with United the following year. In 1968, he captained the Manchester United team that won the European Cup, scoring two goals in the final to help his team be the first English side to win the competition. He has scored more goals for England and United than any other player. Charlton held the record for most appearances for Manchester United (758), before being surpassed by Ryan Giggs.
He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970), and helped England to win the competition in 1966. At the time of his retirement from the England team in 1970, he was the nation's most capped player, having turned out 106 times at the highest level. This record has since been eclipsed by Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton and then David Beckham.
He left Manchester United to become manager of Preston North End for the 1973–74 season. He changed to player-manager the following season, but early in the 1975–76 season left them after having decided management was not for him because his understanding of the game was scant. He next accepted a post as a director with Wigan Athletic, then became a member of Manchester United's board of directors in 1984 and remains one as of January 2013.