May 29, 2024

Franz Beckenbauer: World Cup winner and German football legend dies aged 78

Franz Beckenbauer, the German football legend, has died aged 78, his family have confirmed. Beckenbauer, known as ‘Der Kaiser’, won 103 caps for West Germany and captained his nation to World Cup glory in 1974 – before lifting the trophy again as manager in 1990.

He is widely considered one of the greatest footballers to ever play the beautiful game.

German legend and World Cup winning-player and manager Franz Beckenbauer has died at the age of 78, his family have confirmed.

‘Der Kaiser’ won 103 caps for West Germany during a glittering career, which saw him captain his nation to the 1974 World Cup, while he represented Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1977. He returned to national duty as manager in 1984 and led them to glory at the 1990 World Cup.

A family statement on Monday read: “It is with deep sadness that we inform you that my husband and our father Franz Beckenbauer fell asleep peacefully yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family.

“We ask that you mourn in silence and refrain from asking any questions.”

Beckenbauer was named European Footballer of the Year twice, and played in two European Championships and three World Cups – including the triumphant 1972 and 1974 teams respectively.

He moved to New York Cosmos in 1977 and then returned to Germany for a two-year stint with Hamburg in 1980, before returning to New York in 1983.

Beckenbauer made his debut for Bayern curiously on the left wing in 1964, in a Bundesliga promotion play-off against St Pauli.

After becoming a mainstay in the side, Beckenbauer, in his new ‘libero’ role, earned himself the captaincy in Bavaria and led Bayern to three league titles in a row between 1972 and 1974, and three consecutive European Cups between 1974 and 1976.

He lifted the World Cup in 1974 as West Germany captain, having finished as runner-up and third place in 1966 and 1970 respectively, and he won the 1972 European Championships as part an almost impenetrable West German defence.

After his retirement in 1983 – where he had made 754 competitive club appearances – he stepped into management the following year, taking the reins of West Germany from Jupp Derwall.

In the 1986 World Cup, Beckenbauer’s side reached the final but were beaten only by a Diego Maradona-driven Argentina.

He lifted the trophy four years later in 1990 as the last manager to oversee a West German side before reunification, and with that success, he became one of only two men at the time to have won the World Cup as a player and a manager, with Mario Zagallo his only predecessor. France’s Didier Deschamps has since joined the exclusive club.

He moved into club management with Marseille in 1990, staying for just a year, before two short stints in charge of Bayern between 1993 and 1996. He won the 1994 Bundesliga and the 1996 UEFA Cup.

In 1994, he became Bayern president before stepping down in 2009. Alongside that role, he became vice-president of the German Football Association (DFB) and was a lead figure in securing Germany as the host nation for the 2006 World Cup.

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