Rio Ferdinand and Ian Wright lead tributes to England legend Jimmy Greaves who has died aged 81

Tributes have been paid to legendary Tottenham and England star Jimmy Greaves MBE who has died at the age of 81. 

Spurs announced that their all-time record goalscorer and one of the greatest players in the club’s history passed away early on Sunday morning.

Greaves was the greatest goalscorer of his time scoring 447 goals across his club career which also included spells at Chelsea, West Ham and AC Milan. 

Tributes have been paid to legendary England and Tottenham striker Jimmy Greaves

The greatest goalscorer of his generation died at the age of 81 early on Sunday morning

Tributes have flooded in since Tottenham broke the news on social media, with the club tweeting:  ‘We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves. We extend our deepest sympathies to Jimmy’s family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace, Jimmy.’

Greaves started his career at Chelsea, and the Champions League winners posted: ‘Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.’

He also spent one season at West Ham after moving there from Tottenham and the Hammers tweeted: ‘We are saddened to learn the news of the passing of Jimmy Greaves. The Club sends its deepest condolences to Jimmy’s family and friends.’

Greaves also had spells at Chelsea, West Ham and AC Milan during a legendary career

Greaves also had spells at Chelsea, West Ham and AC Milan during a legendary career

Former footballers have paid their respects with Rio Ferdinand writing: ‘Big loss to the footballing world.. sending my condolences to the Greaves family. First autobiography I ever read! Inspiration.’

Arsenal legend Ian Wright commented: ‘The first footballers name I ever heard from my teacher. ‘No Ian! Finish like Jimmy Greaves!’ May he rest in peace.’

Current Tottenham star Harry Kane star who is second behind Greaves on the club’s all time scoring list posted a picture with the legendary striker.

He also commented:  ‘RIP Jimmy Greaves. A true legend and one of the great goalscorers. Thoughts are with his family and friends.’  

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle tweeted: ‘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.’

Alan Shearer who is eighth on England’s all time scoring listed paid his respects as he posted:  ‘RIP Legend. Goals, Goals, Goals. A remarkable goal scorer.’

Former Tottenham player Graham Roberts said: ‘So sorry to hear the death of the greatest striker of all time in England and my friend @jimmy_greaves and sorry to his wonderful family and my good pal Danny. 

‘Very sad day for all and today let’s all show Jimmy our love from both clubs. Rip you great man.’

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville tweeted: ‘RIP Jimmy Greaves’ with a picture of Ian St John and Greaves when they worked on the ‘Saints and Greavsie’ show.

Liverpool legend St John also died this year back in March after a long illness.

Neville’s co-pundit Jamie Carragher tweeted: ‘RIP Jimmy Greaves the best goal scorer we’ve seen & the part of the best football show we’ve seen. #Legend.’

Greaves lifts the FA Cup with Joe Kinnear for Tottenham after the 1967 final against Chelsea

Greaves lifts the FA Cup with Joe Kinnear for Tottenham after the 1967 final against Chelsea

Current England manager Gareth Southgate paid his respects via the Three Lions’ official social media channels as he wrote: ‘Jimmy Greaves was someone who was admired by all who love football, regardless of club allegiances.

‘I was privileged to be able to meet Jimmy’s family last year at Tottenham Hotspur as the club marked his 80th birthday. My thoughts are with them and I know the entire game will mourn his passing.

‘Jimmy certainly deserves inclusion in any list of England’s best players, given his status as one of our greatest goalscorers and his part in our 1966 World Cup success.

‘We will pay tribute to his memory at our home match with Hungary at Wembley Stadium next month. His place in our history will never be forgotten.’

England boss Gareth Southgate said there will be a tribute during their game against Hungary at Wembley next month

England boss Gareth Southgate said there will be a tribute during their game against Hungary at Wembley next month

The Three Lions official Twitter account tweeted: ‘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 #ThreeLions. All of our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs.’

Former striker and TV pundit Tony Cottee tweeted: ‘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.’

Personalities from other sports also left their respects as cricket legend Ian Botham commented:  ‘Very sad day….one of the greats of all time ‘Jimmy Greaves’ has passed away…..RIP Jimmy !!.’

TV presenter Dan Walker posted: ‘My dad loved watching Jimmy Greaves on the pitch and I loved watching him on the TV. His 44 goals for England came in just 57 games!!! Incredible footballer and a big part of so many people’s lives. Very sad to hear about his death.’

Piers Morgan posted on his Twitter account: ‘RIP Jimmy Greaves, 81. One of the greatest England footballers, brilliant broadcaster, fantastic bloke. Sad news.’

Television personality Paddy McGuinness tweeted: ‘When I was a kid I loved watching Saint & Greavsie. Back then I just thought he was that funny bloke off the telly, turns out he was one of our greatest ever goal scorers! RIP Jimmy Greaves.’

The news comes on a day where two of his former sides Tottenham and Chelsea face off in the Premier League. 

Reacting on Sky Sports News, former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara said: ‘We are going to be able to witness that (grief) today, everyone will see it, and an amazing round of applause for him (at Tottenham v Chelsea).

‘It’s not easy to build a legacy at a club, Jimmy was an icon, football legend, Spurs have been very lucky to have such a great player as part of their club.

‘A truly sad day to have lost someone so great. He is definitely a legend.’  

Former Tottenham team-mate Alan Mullery also told Sky Sports: ‘I am at Brighton, looking at the pitch and can picture Jimmy on the field, side-footing the ball past the keeper. He was a wonderful, wonderful footballer, the best goalscorer to ever play.

‘He had to play (in an era) to stop people kicking lumps out of him, scored goals for fun, you’d be irritated that he’d not touched the ball and then bang, back in the net.

‘I just don’t know how much more I can give to say he was the best goal scorer I have ever seen

Greaves was part of England's 1966 World Cup winning team and scored 44 goals for his country

Greaves was part of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team and scored 44 goals for his country

‘I don’t think you can get more famous, everywhere I go, I was in Italy and someone said to me ‘Jimmy Greaves, great scorer’, he was only there a year!

‘Everywhere he went he scored goals, you’d get no players like that today.’

Former Tottenham midfielder Micky Hazard tweeted: ‘Today we lost our greatest Jimmy Greaves.

‘Words cannot explain how I feel and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wonderful family.

‘Heaven has gained our hero and what a Spurs team we have up there. Rest in (peace) my friend, Jimmy you are simply the greatest Spur ever.’

Ossie Ardiles, who played for Spurs throughout the 1980s, tweeted: ‘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.’