Former Manchester United footballer Denis Law reveals he has been diagnosed with dementia

Credit: PA

One of Manchester United's greatest-ever strikers Denis Law has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia.

The 81-year-old, who hit 237 goals in 404 games for the Reds, said on Thursday that he has Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia.

The Old Trafford legend and Scotland footballer says he will no longer be able to sign items for fans but will continue supporting his club and the Denis Law Legacy Trust.

His former United team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton was diagnosed with the condition last year.

Denis Law Credit: PA

In a statement, Denis said that he wants to address his illness while he is still able to.

He said: “It is an incredibly challenging and problematic disease and I have witnessed many friends go through this.

"You hope that it won’t happen to you, even make jokes about it whilst ignoring the early signs because you don’t want it to be true.

"You get angry, frustrated, confused and then worried, worried for your family, as they will be the ones dealing with it."

“However, the time has come to tackle this head on, excuse the pun. I recognise how my brain is deteriorating and how my memory evades me when I don’t want it to and how this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control.

"I do understand what is happening and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now."

A statue of Manchester United's 'Holy Trinity' of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law Credit: PA

Law - who started his career with Huddersfield Town - won the European Cup, two English titles and the FA Cup in his 11 years at Old Trafford.

He says he will continue to support his club. He said: "I hung up my football boots a long time ago and now it’s time to put my signing days behind me too, so apologies to anyone who has sent me anything but I am just not able.

"I am trying to be positive and determined to continue watching my club, Manchester United at Old Trafford, hopefully this will be a season of success and I am excited by the new signings that Ole and the club have made."

Denis Law with Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Bobby Charlton before kick off, 2008. Credit: PA

Law and his family are fundraising for the Alzheimer's Society, who have offered the former footballer support.

His daughter, Di, is completing ‘The Thames Bridges Trek’ challenge on 11 September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, which Denis is asking people to donate.

Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:"We’ve seen too many sporting heroes impacted by the condition, which is why our Sport United Against Dementia campaign is needed now more than ever.

"It’s never been more important to fund crucial research and our vital support services and ensure that right now, past and present players, as well as fans, know our services are here and can get the dedicated dementia support they deserve.”