Former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce has described Sir Bobby Charlton as “exemplary” after the England World Cup winner was diagnosed with dementia.
The Telegraph said that Charlton’s wife, Lady Norma, was happy for the 83-year-old United and England great’s condition to be reported.
The newspaper said Lady Norma had given the breaking of the news her “blessing”, with the announcement coming two days after his club and country team-mate Nobby Stiles died after his own battle with the illness.
Newcastle boss Bruce, who spent almost a decade as a player at Old Trafford, described both Stiles and Charlton as “greats”.
Bruce said: “I’ve had the privilege to have been in their company many, many times. The two of them are greats.
“The way they are as football players is one thing, but their humility, what they stood for, the way they were as individuals, Nobby and Sir Bobby were quite exemplary.
“All the advice they gave, you’d accept. In the 10 years nearly I was there at Manchester United, he came round, Sir Bobby did, every day and shook you by the hand.
“He came into the dressing room and that presence of, ‘Wow! There’s Sir Bobby Charlton, what a player he was’.
“I wish him well, and my thoughts also go to Nobby Stiles’ family. We were all saddened by that news as well.”
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also expressed his sadness over Stiles’ death and the announcement of Charlton’s condition.
“Of course it’s sad news for everyone surrounding Man United and (who) are fans of Nobby,” Solskjaer said after United’s home defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
“I had the pleasure of meeting him and what a humble man. It’s sad and of course we as a club want to support Sir Bobby as well.”
United and England forward Marcus Rashford gave his support to Charlton.
He wrote on Instagram: “I filmed alongside this man as a child and was in awe. I still am when I see you. This man, from day 1, was everything I wanted to be. Kind, professional, caring, talented.
“Sir Bobby, you are my hero and I am devastated that you are having to go through this. Stay strong, we love you”.
In July, Charlton’s brother Jack also died, himself having previously being diagnosed with dementia.
Sir Bobby Charlton is regarded as one of England’s best ever, if not the best, footballers.
A 1966 World Cup winner, he held England’s goalscoring record of 49 for close to 50 years until it was broken by Wayne Rooney. The same man would take his Manchester United scoring record when he passed the 249 goals he scored for his beloved Red Devils.
Gary Lineker, himself a scorer of 48 England goals, posted on Twitter: “Yet another hero of our 1966 World Cup winning team has been diagnosed with dementia. Perhaps the greatest of them all, @SirBobby. This is both very sad and deeply concerning.”
Charlton’s 249 Manchester United goals came across 758 games for the club, with his England total coming in 106 appearances and nearly all were from midfield.
A survivor of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, he helped the rebuilding of the club in the wake of the tragedy and scored two goals as they beat Benfica to win the European Cup in 1968.
A statement from the club read: “Everyone at Manchester United is saddened that this terrible disease has afflicted Sir Bobby Charlton and we continue to offer our love and support to Sir Bobby and his family.”
The Football Association also tweeted its best wishes.