South West Wales

Footballer John Charles' Italian medal auctioned

John Charles' Italian league winner's medal
Image caption The medal was presented for winning the Italian league

A medal presented to Welsh footballer John Charles for winning the Italian league in 1958 has been sold at auction for £8,880.

Charles, known as the Gentle Giant because of his stature and honourable play, was one of the first UK players transferred to a foreign league.

The Swansea-born star, who died in 2004, played for Juventus from 1957 to 1962 before re-joining Leeds United.

The medal is understood to have gone to a UK buyer at Bonhams in Chester.

Charles was signed by Leeds at the age of 17 and stayed there eight years, scoring more than 150 goals.

Following his record-breaking transfer to Juventus for £65,000, the Italian club won three championships and the Italian cup during his time with them.

Image caption John Charles was never booked or sent off in his career

He also represented Wales at the World Cup in Sweden in 1958, although injury forced him to miss the quarter-final against Brazil, which Wales lost 1-0.

He was voted the best-ever foreigner to play for the club by Juventus fans.

After his second stint at Leeds, Charles returned to Italy to join Roma, before ending his career with Cardiff City.

The 15-carat gold medal is inscribed with the Juventus crest on one side.

On the reverse are the words "Campione D'Italia; Charles, William John, 1957-58".

The auctioneers' sporting specialist Dan Davies said the medal is a "piece of sporting history for fans to get their hands on".

Mr Davies said Charles was: "A very famous man, the Gentle Giant was worshipped at Juventus and at Leeds of course where they sold him for £65,000 to Juventus and built the stand out of the money."

He said the medal was submitted for sale by a member of the late footballer's family.

The medal was a one of a number of football items being sold on Wednesday.

Others included Geoff Hurst's spare shirt from the 1966 World Cup and Sir Stanley Matthews' boots worn in a testimonial match in 1965.

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