‘What a life!’ Sir Bobby Charlton leads Manchester United tributes to Nelson Mandela

By Scott Hunt

Manchester United players past and present have paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death yesterday.

A number of United players and directors met Mandela in 2006 on the clubs pre-season tour to South Africa.

1966 World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton has led the clubs tributes to Mandela by saying he was deeply saddened to hear of his passing.

“Whilst we will all mourn his death we must celebrate his life, and what a life!” Charlton said.

“I feel blessed to have lived during his life span and privileged to have met him on a number of occasions.

“God bless my friend Madiba.”

United players have also taken to Twitter to pay their respects to Mandela.

In particular, compatriot Quinton Fortune has posted moving tributes to South Africa’s first black President.

“You are home now Chief Nelson Mandela. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your beautiful life. Forever my President,” he tweeted.

Robin van Persie tweeted: “An inspiration to all of us. RIP Nelson Mandela. Thank you for everything you have done!”

“RIP Nelson Mandela. A tweet could never do justice to the greatness of the man,” tweeted former United striker Michael Owen.

Michael Carrick tweeted: “RIP #NelsonMandela A real inspiration. Lived once but his legacy lives forever.”

Sir Alex Ferguson was on South Africa national television during the club’s last tour and spoke of his meetings with Mandela.

“The thing that strikes me most of all about Nelson Mandela is that there’s no bitterness about him,” Ferguson said.

“After what he suffered and endured there’s no bitterness – you have to be special to do that.

“He’s an example to the world.”

Image courtesy of The Centre for School Design via Flickr, with thanks.

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