A Chelsea legendary goalkeeper is dead.
Chelsea’s former keeper Peter Bonetti died aged 78 on Sunday, the club confirmed.
“Chelsea Football Club is hugely saddened to announce the passing today of one of our indisputably all-time great players, Peter Bonetti.
“Our former goalkeeper had been suffering from a long-term illness. All at Chelsea wish to send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to Peter’s family and friends.
“Peter Bonetti’s position in the pantheon of Chelsea footballing gods is unassailable.
“He was the Cat who broke the mould, defied the odds, drew the gasps, earned the cheers and got the cream. All in front of an adoring Stamford Bridge,” Chelsea said in a statement.
Bonetti was a key figure in Chelsea’s achievements during the 1960s and 1970s.
In the penultimate game of the 1962/63 season, away at Sunderland and with promotion at the first time of asking for Docherty’s fledgeling side in the balance, he made a brilliant last-minute save to preserve a crucial 1-0 lead.
In the 1965 League Cup final against Leicester City, the Blues had edged a tight first leg at home and in the return at Filbert Street, Bonetti made a succession of stops enabling Chelsea to win silverware.
Bonetti played more than 700 times for the Premier League based side over two spells between 1960 and 1979.
He was part of England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966 but missed out on a medal as he never made an appearance in the tournament.
He was eventually awarded a medal in 2009 following a campaign led by the Football Association (FA)
In his professional career, he made an incredible 729 appearances for Chelsea. Only his captain, Ron Harris, represented the Premier League club more times.
Bonetti held the record for the most clean sheets as a Chelsea keeper until January 2014, when Petr Cech surpassed him.
The two all-time great goalies came to know each other well and had immense mutual respect.
May the legend Rest in Peace!