England and Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has passed away at the age of 81.
Spurs’ record goalscorer, with 266 goals to his name from 379 appearances, Greaves also hit 44 goals for the Three Lions from 57 caps and helped his country win the World Cup in 1966.
Greaves also won two FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in a glittering career.
He also enjoyed spells at Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham United.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves,” wrote Spurs’ official account on Twitter.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Jimmy’s family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace, Jimmy.”
Spurs added on their official website that Greaves was “the finest marksman this country has ever seen”.
Born in East Ham in 1940, Greaves begun his career in the junior ranks at Chelsea before turning professional in 1957, scoring on his debut against Tottenham, which would become the club synonymous with his club career.
Spurs added in a their full statement: “Although we had just won the ‘Double’, there’s no question that Jimmy’s arrival in N17 made us an even better team.
“He was a natural goalscorer, always in the right place at the right time to add the finishing touch to another well-worked move, while he could also create his own goals, as he did on numerous occasions by gliding past defenders and passing the ball into the back of the net.
“He possessed immaculate ball control, great balance and such composure in front of goal that he rarely spurned an opportunity.”
A statement from England added: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jimmy Greaves at the age of 81.
“Jimmy was part of our World Cup-winning squad and scored a remarkable 44 goals in 57 games for the Three Lions.
“All of our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs.”
Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle led the tributes, writing: “Such sad news this morning on Jimmy s passing . A true legend of the game , love and thoughts to all of Jimmy s family. R.I.P.”
While Spurs legend Osvaldo Ardiles added: “RIP Jimmy. Great player, great man. Very funny. Humble.
“Jimmy epitomises what Spurs is: “To dare is to do”… “When you come to meet the great goalscorer in heaven it matters not if you win or lose but how you played the game.” My prayers and thoughts with his family and friends.”
Former England centre-back Rio Ferdinand described Greaves as an “inspiration”: “Big loss to the footballing world… sending my condolences to the Greaves family. First autobiography I ever read! Inspiration.”
While Ian Wright revealed that Greaves was “the first footballer’s name I ever heard from my teacher. ‘No Ian! Finish like Jimmy Greaves!’ May he rest in peace.”
And former West Ham striker Tony Cottee described Greaves as the very best to do it: “I am so sad to hear the news about Jimmy Greaves …
“My thoughts go out to his family. There have been many great goalscorers over the years but none have been as good as him ! RIP Jimmy.”
Chris Sutton described Greaves as a “genius”, while his influence stretched beyond the football world, with David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, writing: “Man so sad Jimmy Greaves has left us. What a superb goal scorer, character and all round footballing legend. One of a kind. Sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”
And Piers Morgan added: “RIP Jimmy Greaves, 81. One of the greatest England footballers, brilliant broadcaster, fantastic bloke. Sad news.”
Football commentator Ian Darke added: “RIP the greatest instinctive goal scorer English football has ever seen – the magnificent , hugely popular and very funny Jimmy Greaves.”