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British exports to play in Champions League final: Bale, McManaman, Lambert



Laurie Cunningham, who started his career at Leyton Orient, was a pioneer throughout his career.

When he joined Real Madrid from West Brom in 1979, he was the first Briton to join the Spanish giant in the modern era, and one of the first black players to represent England.

Raised in north London by Jamaica-born parents, Cunningham arrived at the Bernabeu in a £950,000 deal – a club record for both Albion and Real.

In 1981 he was rushed back to play in the European Cup final against Liverpool after six months out injured.

Cunningham, clearly unfit and struggling, later described the game as “horrific”. A well-taken 81st-minute goal by left-back Alan Kennedy was enough to settle the contest as Madrid missed out.

Eight years later, Cunningham tragically died in a car accident.

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