Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78

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by Mick the Ram

 

Franz Beckenbauer, widely recognised as one of the best players to ever play the game, has died at the age of 78. The former West German captain passed away peacefully on Sunday 7 December, his family announced.

He led his country to World Cup glory in 1974 and then repeated it 16 years later in the role as manager. He won 103 caps and played over 580 games for Bayern Munich, winning three successive European Cups during the 1970’s.

Nicknamed Der Kaiser, he also won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions and finished his playing career lining up alongside Pele for New York Cosmos.

Family statement

The statement released from his family read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father,  passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family. We ask that you allow us to grieve in silence and refrain from asking any questions.”

The actual cause of death was not specified, but he had struggled with health problems in recent years.

One of only three men to achieve amazing double

Beckenbauer is one of only three men to have lifted the World Cup as both a player and a manager. In a sad turn of events, one of those others was Brazil’s Mario Zagallo who also very sadly died just two days before, at the age of 92. The only other person to achieve that feat is France’s Didier Deschamps.

Best young player

He had been catapulted to fame in the 1966 World Cup tournament when he was voted the best young player of the competition, at the age of 20. He spent the entire final against the hosts England man-marking Sir Bobby Charlton, albeit in a losing cause.

One of best in world

Der Kaiser made 582 appearances for Bayern Munich, mostly playing in the sweeper position that he made so famous. He won four Bundesliga titles, as well as the European Cup in three consecutive years – 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Through the seventies he was regarded as one of the best players in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or in ’72 and ’76, and falling just short as runner-up in ’74 and ’75.

Managing the world champions

Retiring in 1983 after a successful spell in the States where he helped to lift the football profile, alongside another great in Pele, he then took charge of the German national team, taking them to the World Cup final in Mexico in 1986, losing to Argentina, before getting revenge four years later to lift the trophy in the Italy tournament.

He took over at Bayern and won an incredible nine titles, before moving into a presidency role.

Controversy

Beckenbauer did have some controversy and was suspended from all football-related activities for failing to cooperate with a probe into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup voting system.

He was eventually not indicted in 2019 for health reasons. The case ended without a judgment when the statute of limitations expired in 2020 amid delays to the court system, brought about by the pandemic.

Tributes

Bayern’s honorary president, Uli Hoeness, who was a long-term team-mate described his friend as the “greatest personality the club has ever had” and calling him “a unique companion, a gift to all of us. Nobody will ever reach him.

Current Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann said: “For me, Franz Beckenbauer was the best footballer in German history. His interpretation of the role of the libero changed the game, this role and his friendship with the ball made him a free man.”

Liverpool and Scotland striker Kenny Dalglish called him a “true icon of the game”. He went on to say how it was “a privilege to share one of my proudest moments with him when he presented my 100th cap for Scotland.”

Finally his beloved club Bayern Munich issued a heartfelt statement which read: “Without Franz Beckenbauer we would never have become the club we are today. The world of FC Bayern is no longer what it used to be, it is suddenly darker, quieter, poorer.”

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