This year unfortunately saw the passing of several influential figures in the world of football: former star players like Johan Cruyff, Cesare Maldini, Stephen Keshi, Carlos Alberto, Raul Sanchez and Trifon Ivanov, as well as some other remarkable individuals who contributed to the development of the game, such as ex-FIFA President Joao Havelange and Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga, who designed and created the FIFA World Cup™ trophy.

In late November, football fans worldwide were saddened to learn that the plane carrying the players and staff of Brazilian club Chapecoense had crashed in Colombia; the tragic accident took the lives of all but three of the players on board. The global outpouring of solidarity that followed culminated in the club being awarded the 2016 Copa Sudamericana.

We look back on some of the greats who left us in 2016 with a special photo gallery to recall the impact their careers had on the game.