He returned to the USA to play for San Jose Earthquakes in what was officially described as a "loan" though he only managed a handful of appearances for "Hibs" in the First Division in the following season. In June 2006 Sarah Fabergé great-granddaughter of Russian Imperial Jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé was commissioned to create the George Best Egg in tribute. After failing to agree terms with Bolton Wanderers in 1981 he was invited as a guest player and played three matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams (Sea Bee and Rangers) in 1982.
In international football he was an automatic choice when fit being capped 37 times and scoring nine goals from 1964 to 1977 although the team's performance never allowed his talent to be displayed in the finals of a European Championship or World Cup. Such was Best's talent and charisma that he became one of the first celebrity footballers but his subsequent extravagant lifestyle led to various problems most notably alcoholism which he suffered from for the rest of his adult life. He died in 2005 age 59 due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after being controversially granted an NHS liver transplant in 2002.