Corette Lombardo

Written by Corette Lombardo

Modified & Updated: 25 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


George Best, the legendary footballer from Northern Ireland, has left an indelible mark on the world of sports. With his incredible skills and flamboyant personality, Best became one of the most iconic figures in the history of football. Born on May 22, 1946, in Belfast, he rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, captivating fans around the globe with his mesmerizing performances on the field.

In this article, we will delve into 18 fascinating facts about George Best that highlight his remarkable career and personal life. From his early days at Manchester United to his international success, we will explore the achievements, controversies, and lasting legacy of this extraordinary player. Get ready to discover lesser-known aspects of George Best’s life, showcasing why he remains an unforgettable figure in the annals of football history.

Key Takeaways:

  • George Best, a legendary footballer, was known for his exceptional dribbling skills, goal-scoring ability, and extravagant off-field lifestyle. Despite personal struggles, his enduring legacy continues to inspire future players.
  • Best’s cultural impact and iconic quotes have left a lasting impression on the world of football. His influence on popular culture and the game itself solidifies his place as one of the greatest players in history.
Table of Contents

Early Life

George Best was born on May 22, 1946, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He grew up in a working-class family and displayed exceptional football talent from a young age.

Football Career

Best is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He played as a winger for Manchester United and also represented Northern Ireland at the international level.

Playing Style

Best was known for his incredible dribbling skills, balance, and elegant playing style. He was often referred to as the “Fifth Beatle” due to his popularity and charisma.

European Success

During his career, Best helped Manchester United win numerous trophies, including the European Cup in 1968, where he played a crucial role in the final against Benfica.

Goal Scoring Ability

Despite primarily being a winger, Best was an exceptional goal scorer. He scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United.

Ballon d’Or Winner

In 1968, Best won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, recognizing him as the best football player in Europe.

Off-Field Lifestyle

Best became known for his extravagant off-field lifestyle, which included his love of nightclubs, fashion, and an indulgence in alcohol.

Troubled Personal Life

Despite his success on the pitch, Best faced personal struggles, including issues with alcoholism, which ultimately affected his career and overall well-being.


Best retired from professional football at the age of 27, which was considered premature given his immense talent.

Philanthropic Efforts

Later in life, Best became involved in philanthropy and worked to raise awareness about organ donation following his successful liver transplant.

Iconic Quotes

Throughout his life, Best was known for his witty and memorable quotes, such as “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

Cultural Impact

Best’s impact went beyond the football pitch and influenced popular culture. He became a cultural icon and remains an inspiration to many aspiring players.

Honored Legacy

George Best is remembered and celebrated for his contributions to football. Various tributes, including statues and memorials, have been dedicated to him.

Guinness World Record

Best holds the Guinness World Record for the “Fastest Send-off in Football History” after being subbed off just 27 seconds into a match for the San Jose Earthquakes in 1981.

National Team Success

Despite Northern Ireland’s limited success at the international level, Best played a pivotal role in helping the team reach the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup.

Posthumous Recognition

Following his death in 2005, Best received numerous posthumous honors and was included in FIFA’s list of the 100 Greatest Players of all time in 2004.

Influence on Future Players

Many young players have cited George Best as an inspiration and have tried to emulate his style of play and incredible skills.

Enduring Legacy

The legacy of George Best continues to resonate in the world of football, with his name forever etched in history as one of the greatest players to have graced the game.


In conclusion, George Best was not only a legendary football player but also a fascinating individual with a life filled with ups and downs. From his incredible skills on the pitch to his glamorous lifestyle off the field, Best captured the hearts and minds of fans around the world.His journey from a young boy growing up in Northern Ireland to becoming a global icon serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and individuals alike. Despite the obstacles and personal demons he faced, Best demonstrated immense talent and an unmatched passion for the game.Although his career was cut short and plagued by controversies, George Best will always be remembered as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the football field. His legacy lives on, reminding us of the power of talent, determination, and the complexities of human nature.


1. What were George Best’s most notable achievements in football?

George Best achieved numerous milestones during his football career. He won two English First Division titles, one European Cup, and one FIFA World Club Cup with Manchester United. Additionally, he won the Ballon d’Or in 1968, cementing his status as the best player in the world at the time.

2. How did George Best’s personal life impact his career?

George Best’s personal life had a significant impact on his career. His struggles with alcohol addiction and his high-profile lifestyle often resulted in disciplinary issues and strained relationships with clubs and managers. These factors ultimately led to his early retirement from professional football.

3. Where did George Best play after leaving Manchester United?

After leaving Manchester United, George Best played for various clubs including the likes of Hibernian, Los Angeles Aztecs, and several teams in the North American Soccer League. He also had short stints in clubs in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

4. How did George Best’s playing style influence future generations?

George Best’s playing style, characterized by his exceptional dribbling skills, speed, and creative flair, paved the way for future generations of players. He was one of the first players to showcase the artistry and individual brilliance that became more prevalent in modern football.

5. What is George Best’s lasting legacy?

George Best’s lasting legacy extends far beyond the football pitch. He remains an iconic figure in the sport, admired for his immense talent and captivating personality. His struggles with addiction also serve as a reminder of the importance of mental health and the challenges faced by athletes in the public eye.

George Best's legacy lives on, inspiring countless fans and players alike. For more captivating stories, explore the incredible journey of football legend George Weah, discover fascinating facts about the groundbreaking 1968 film Petulia, or dive into the rich history and triumphs of Manchester United, one of the world's most iconic clubs.

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