Former England, Tottenham striker Jimmy Greaves passes away aged 81

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London: The former England striker Jimmy Greaves, one of the game's greatest goalscorers and characters, has died aged 81, his former club Tottenham Hotspur announced on Sunday.

"We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves, not just Tottenham Hotspur's record goalscorer but the finest marksman this country has ever seen," the club said.

"Jimmy passed away at home in the early hours of this morning (Sunday 19 September), aged 81."

A member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad, Greaves scored 44 goals in his 57 appearances for England.

His strike rate was phenomenal as he scored 356 goals in England's top flight, a record which still stands.

For Tottenham, he returned 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970. The 37 league goals that he netted in the 1962/63 season has yet to be bettered by a Spurs player in a single season.

Greaves began his career with Chelsea, scoring on debut in 1957 against Spurs -- his 41-goal haul in the First Division in 1960/61 still stands as Chelsea's record for a single season.

A brief spell at AC Milan followed -- where he netted nine time in 14 games -- before he returned to England to join Spurs. He later played for West Ham before retiring from the game and going into television punditry.

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