Bert Trautmann (AP Photo/GES, Markus Gilliar, Pool)
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Bert Trautmann, a former German World War II prisoner of war who became Manchester City's goalkeeper and helped the team win the FA Cup despite a broken neck for the last 17 minutes of the 1956 final, has died, the German soccer federation said. He was 89.
The federation said Trautmann died in La Llosa, near Valencia, Spain, where he lived. Trautmann's wife Marlies told the federation he died Friday morning.
Trautmann had suffered two heart attacks this year but appeared to have recovered well.
Manchester City called Trautmann one of the club's "greatest goalkeepers of all time and a true club legend."
Trautmann was revered for his performance in Manchester City's 1956 FA Cup final win over Birmingham.
Born in Bremen between the two World Wars, Trautmann joined the Luftwaffe and served as a paratrooper during World War II, earning an Iron Cross.
Captured by the British as the war drew to a close, h e was moved to a prisoner of war camp in Lancashire and later declined to be repatriated, adopting England as his home for nearly two decades.
He joined Manchester City in 1949, accompanied by the protest of 20,000 with memories of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany still fresh.
Trautmann was the first German to play in a Wembley FA Cup final when City finished runner-up to Newcastle in 1955.
One year later, Trautmann became the star of City's title.
City had taken a 3-1 lead against Birmingham in the final, and with 17 minutes to go Trautmann dived at the feet of onrushing forward Peter Murphy. The Birmingham player's knee collided with the City goalkeeper's neck, and Trautmann was knocked out.
At the time, no substitutions were allowed, and Trautmann, although unsteady, returned to his place between the posts, according an account on City's website.
Trautmann produced two more outstanding saves and then collided with his own defender, Dave Ewing , and had to be revived again before he could continue.
It was only days later that an X-ray revealed a broken neck.
Trautmann was named the Football Writers' Player of the Year eight days before the final.
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