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MANCHESTER: England football hero Sir Bobby Charlton said he was "so proud" of being awarded the freedom of the city of Manchester on Monday.

The 1966 World Cup winner, a Manchester United club legend, said he was humbled to receive the honour.

The 71-year-old was given the freedom of Britain's third-biggest city at a town hall ceremony on Monday.

"I'm just so proud, it's fantastic. It's a great city. I have always been very proud of it.

"It's never been afraid to try things. It's a brave decision-making city," the knight said.

He joins World War II prime minister Winston Churchill, former US president Woodrow Wilson, and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in having the honour.

"I've worked in Manchester ever since I was 15 but I'm a Geordie and I come from the northeast and I am really proud about that," Charlton added.

"I feel humble when you see the other names on the wall. I'm really proud for my family and Manchester United."

Charlton said his proudest moment in football was captaining United to victory in the 1968 European Cup final. He put his success down to his work ethic.

An attacking midfielder, Charlton survived the 1958 Munich air disaster and made 758 appearances for United between 1954 and 1973, helping them win three league titles and an FA Cup.

His 49 goals for England remains unsurpassed. -- AFP

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1. Fully deserved. He deserves any award these days. The clip of him after the '99 final in Barce, and then leading the team up to get the trophy in Moscow brought tears to my eyes thinking back to him lifting the trophy himself back in '68...

2. Is it a title, or does he get something? Like a key that opens every building in Manchester....:p :laugh:
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