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John Charles (1931-2004) was one of the greatest all round footballers. He was comfortable playing centre-half or centre-forward and could also play full-back or midfield, if required. Such was his versatility that he managed to break the Leeds United club scoring record with 42 goals in a season at a time when he was appearing at centre-half in internationals for Wales.

He made his debut for Leeds in 1949 and within a year he had become the youngest player to appear for Wales when, in March 1950 at the age of 18 years and 71 days, he was capped against Northern Ireland.

In August 1957, Charles signed for Juventus for £65,000 - a record transfer fee for a British player. He was the first Briton to make the grade in Italian football and is probably the most successful export from League football to Serie A where his name is still revered. During Charles's five years with Juventus, they won three Serie A Championships and lifted the Italian Cup twice.

He came back to Wales in 1963, joining Cardiff City where he played until his retirement in 1966.

During his career, Charles earned 38 caps for Wales and will be rememberd as one of our greatest sportsmen.

[Source: International Football Hall of Fame website (, 20/11/2002)]

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