British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed his regrets regarding the loss of soccer legend George Best, who died of multiple organ failure today (25NOV05).

Speaking from the Commonwealth Head of Governments meeting in Malta, Blair joined Britain in mourning the inimitable hellraiser.

He says, "(He was) probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation, one of the greatest footballers the UK has ever produced.

"Anyone who has seen him as a football fan will never forget it."

Meanwhile, SIR Bobby Charlton has led the sports world in paying tribute to his former Manchester United team-mate - and is desperately regretful of treating the hellraiser with "hostility".

He says, "(He) made an immense contribution to the game, and enriched the lives of everyone that saw him play.

"Football has lost one of its greats, and I have lost a dear friend. He was a marvelous person.

"If, instead of being hostile to George, which I was, we had leaned a bit his way and tried to help him, who knows?"

The Premiership club's current boss Sir Alex Ferguson adds, "He was a fantastic player. Everybody at United regarded George as being one of the greatest of all time.

"It's very sad because he was a wonderful person, who was very likeable."