Born 27th December 1931, the boy from the backstreets of Swansea's humble Cwbbwrla district would go on to become one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen. Along with Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs and now Gareth Bale, the Welsh football team has seen great players come and go, but none to the extent of the 'gentle giant' John Charles.
Acknowledged as the greatest ever British all rounder - as he was equally adept at centre half and centre forward - Charles 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 was signed as a 16-year-old by Major Frank Buckley after being on the ground staff at his home town club, and made his United debut a year later in a friendly against the Queen of the South at Elland Road.
It was a game that was to change his life forever.
Remembering The Gentle Giant, Welsh Football Legend John Charles, who passed away on this day in 2004.— Teejac Sports (@TeejacSports) February 21, 2018
Charles' goalscoring prowess in Yorkshire and Turin made him an icon of European football – and perhaps the greatest player to emerge from Wales https://t.co/0lSd5dEi59 pic.twitter.com/TqwgHyWT2N
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The Yorkshire Post that day also took note of the young Charles. Its correspondent at the time, Richard Ulyatt spoke of Charles as a great prospect - how right he was.
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A powerful header of the ball, just as many goals came from his forehead as his famous boots.
Former team-mate Jack Charlton remembers just how good and acomplished an all round player he was. "John Charles was a team unto himself," he said.
"He was quick, he was a very, very strong runner and he was the greatest header of the ball I ever saw. His power in the air was phenomenal."
In 1956 Charles helped Leeds finally gain promotion to the old First Division, winning the Second Division Championship. It gave the brilliant Welshman the chance to test himself amongst the best centre-halves in the country, and for once people could compare him with the best strikers too.
Moving to the Italian league was supposed to be a great challenge for the Welsh forward, but again Charles emerged as a winner in everything he did for Juventus.
A Welsh icon, Charles helped Wales make it through to the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals, where they lost 1-0 to Brazil, a game in which he sadly took no part through injury. In total he played 38 times for Wales, scoring 15 goals, and was awarded the CBE in 2001. Sadly for Wales, Charles would only ever play in one World Cup game for The Dragons - a match at the 1958 World Cup where he scored the equaliser against an incredible Hungarian side.
Charles went on to play for AS Roma and Cardiff City, before finishing his career with non-league sides Hereford United and Merthyr Tydfil.
The Welshman's ability to score wherever he went, as well as on the international stage, make Charles one of the game's greatest ever players. He sadly died in 2004, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of all Leeds and Juventus fans, as well as the entire nation of Wales.
Despite only making one World Cup appearance for Wales, Charles' impact on Welsh football should be heralded, and his revolutionary ability is one of the greatest ever witnessed in the world of football.