Denis Law earned his nickname ‘The King’ as a deadly finisher for Manchester United and Scotland, scoring 333 goals in a glittering career that saw him win a string of honours.
After being moved from full back to inside-left, the Aberdeen youngster showed a precocious talent, and was soon selected for Scotland schoolboys. In 1955, the teenager was snapped up by Huddersfield Town, making his debut on Christmas Eve 1956 aged only 16 in a 2-1 win over Notts County.
In October 1958, just before his 19thbirthday, he became one of the youngest players to appear for Scotland, scoring the second of three goals in a 3-0 win over Wales in the British Home Championship.
Two years later, Denis set a new British transfer record when he moved to Manchester City for £55,000. Within a year, Italian club Torino had doubled that fee and set a new record for a transfer involving a British player.
However, after an unhappy spell in Italy, he returned to Britain in 1962, joining Manchester United for yet another record transfer fee. It was the making of Denis, and over the next 11 years he formed a lethal partnership with his fellow members of the ‘Holy Trinity’, George Best and Bobby Charlton.
In the 1964-65 season, he became the first Scottish player to win the Ballon d’Or as his 28 goals helped United win the league. Two seasons later he netted 23 times to again help United lift the championship trophy.
By the time he left United in 1973, he’d added the FA Cup to his haul, with a tally of 237 goals in 404 appearances making him the third-highest scorer in the club’s history. He spent another season at Manchester City – infamously scoring in the game in which United were relegated – before retiring in August 1974.
On the international stage, his highlights included twice netting four goals in a match and scoring in the famous Wembley win over England in 1967. He shares the record number of goals by a Scotland player – 30 – with Kenny Dalglish.
Law was named Scotland’s Golden Player – the most outstanding player of the past 50 years – by the SFA in 2003. But he says the greatest honour of his career was when he was selected for the Rest of the World XI against England in 1963, scoring his team’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat. Today, a statue to ‘The King’ stands on the Stretford End at Old Trafford.
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