A tribute to Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti, who passes aged 78

Peter Bonetti, Chelsea (Photo by Norman Quicke/Daily Express/Getty Images)
Peter Bonetti, Chelsea (Photo by Norman Quicke/Daily Express/Getty Images) /

Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti passed away at the age of 78 following a long illness.

The club’s official website claimed that the goalkeeper breathed his last today. Nicknamed “The Cat” due to his brilliant reflexes, Bonetti joined the Blues in 1960 and became a regular the following season. Bonetti helped Chelsea lift three trophies during his spell there that included a League Cup, an FA Cup, and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

The former England international is fondly remembered for his heroics in the 1970 FA Cup Final against the mighty Leeds United. The then 28-year-old produced some terrific performances against the Whites at Wembley in an eventual 2-2 draw.

In the replay at Old Trafford, Bonetti sustained a knee injury during the early minutes after a challenge from Mick Jones who later scored the first goal of the match.

More from Chelsea FC

Despite this, he played for 120 minutes and produced some terrific saves as Chelsea won 2-1 to lift the FA Cup for the very first time.

Bonetti left Stamford Bridge in 1975 only to return the following year. His second spell at Chelsea saw him stay for three years before leaving for Dundee United in 1979.

All in all, Bonetti made 729 appearances for the Blues, keeping more than 200 clean sheets. Only his former teammate Ron Harris has played in more matches than him.

Despite being a terrific goalkeeper, Bonetti managed only seven appearances for England due to the presence of a certain Gordon Banks. He was a part of the squad that won the World Cup in 1966 and also featured in the following edition.

Bonetti’s only match at a World Cup came in 1970 where he was the Three Lions’ starting goalkeeper in the quarter-final against West Germany after Banks became ill due to food poisoning. England went 2-0 but went on to lose 3-2 in extra-time. This was to be his final international game.

Bonetti has been integral part of Chelsea’s history and the club has lost a truly legendary figure. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

dark. Next. Chelsea are front-runners to land Barcelona star

Do you have any memories of Peter Bonetti? If so, we would love to hear. Rest in peace to a legend of the game.