Former Chelsea and England goalkeeper Peter Bonetti has been ill for a long time.
- Last update: April 13, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
London: Former Chelsea and England goalkeeper Peter Bonetti died at the age of 78 after a long-term illness, the Premier League club said on Sunday. He was referred to as “hero and gentleman”.
Bonetti was referred to as “The Cat” because of his mobility and was a mainstay of the West London side for almost 20 years in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Our former goalkeeper was ill in the long term,” says a statement by the club.
“Everyone at Chelsea would like to express our condolences to Peter’s family and friends.”
Bonetti was relatively small for modern goals for a goalkeeper with a height of less than 1.82 meters. He played 729 games for Chelsea and remained clean sheets 208 times.
His Chelsea career began in 1960 and ended in 1979 when his two games at Stamford Bridge were separated by a 1975 North American soccer league stint at the St. Louis Stars.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Petr Cech beat Bonetti’s record.
Meanwhile, only Bonetti’s former teammate Ron Harris has played more Chelsea games, with the defender playing for the blues in 795 games.
“He (Bonetti) was about eight feet tall, very slim and acrobatic. He made some incredible saves,” Harris told Sky Sports News on Sunday.
“I’m not knocking on any of the goalkeepers today, I’m asking any Chelsea supporter who’s been around for a while and I bet they would say Peter Bonetti was Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper.”
With Bonetti’s career, which overlaps that of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton, he only appeared for England seven times.
Shilton praised Twitter and said Bonetti was “a hero of mine, a great player and a true gentleman”.
Bonetti was a member of the victorious squad of the 1966 English World Cup, but that was Banks’ form, which he did not play during the tournament.
It was only in 2009 that Bonetti received a medal. The rules at the time said that only the XI was honored in the final.
However, his career in England will be remembered for an unfortunate game at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
After Banks suffered food poisoning, Bonetti was beaten in the quarter-finals of western Germany.
Alf Ramsey’s team was 2-0, but lost 2: 3 in extra time. Bonetti was criticized for being responsible for England’s first two goals.
At club level, however, he helped Chelsea win the 1965 League Cup, the 1970 FA Cup – after the Blues defeated bitter rival Leeds United in a final that was repeated – and the 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Bonetti, one of the pioneers of special gloves for goalkeepers, also worked for Dundee United and Woking.
He later became a goalkeeper coach and worked with both Chelsea and the English squad, as well as Kevin Keegan in Newcastle, Manchester City and Fulham.