Former Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Bonetti died at the age of 78 on Sunday according to The Associated Press. The precise cause of death was not reported at this time, however Bonetti had been suffering from a long term illness.
Bonetti played 600 games for Chelsea from 1960 to 1979. In addition to his 16 seasons with one of the most recognizable football clubs in the English Premier League, Bonetti played one season (21 games) for the St. Louis Stars of the former North American Soccer League, five games for Dundee United F.C. in the Scottish Professional Soccer League in 1979 and two games at the age of 45 for Woking in the English Second Division in 1986.
Bonetti was a substitute goalkeeper for England at the 1966 World Cup. He played behind Gordon Banks of Sheffield, England, but did not see any action. The 1966 English soccer team is the only English soccer team to have ever won the World Cup. By winning in their home country of England, they defeated West Germany 4-2 in the championship final at Wembley Stadium in London on July 30, 1966.
Despite not playing any games for England in the 1966 World Cup, Bonetti played seven games for England from 1966 to 1970. At the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Bonetti played the second half for England in their quarterfinal game against West Germany after Banks had to leave the game with food poisoning. At the time, England was leading 2-0, but West Germany came back with three consecutive goals from German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, Uwe Seeler and Gerd Mueller for a stunning 3-2 victory.
Meanwhile, when Bonetti initially won the 1966 World Cup, he did not receive a gold medal. At the time, only the players who played in England’s 4-2 win over West Germany received gold medals. In 2009, the rules changed and all players who were part of past World Cup winning teams in soccer received gold medals. Bonetti received his gold medal from former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.