Franz Beckenbauer, one of only three players to win the World Cup both as a player and a coach and who amassed a hard-to-top list of achievements on the pitch, has died at 78.
Nicknamed “Der Kaiser” (The Emperor), Beckenbauer is widely regarded as one of the finest footballers of all time.
The only other men who have won the World Cup as a player and manager are Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and France’s Didier Deschamps.
A nine-year-old Beckenbauer started playing football with the youth team at SC Munich ’06 in 1954.
Through his exemplary leadership qualities and remarkable versatility on the field, he captured the spotlight in the world of football.
His ability to lead and adapt drew parallels to the esteemed Fritz Walter, a German legend instrumental in securing the 1954 World Cup championship.
National team career
Widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in the history of the German national team, Beckenbauer made his debut for West Germany at the age of 20.
He was later appointed as captain in 1972.
The captain led his nation to win the European Championship title in 1972 before winning the World Cup two years later on home soil.
West Germany claimed a 2-1 win over the Netherlands to clinch the 1974 trophy at the Olympiastadion in Munich.
Beckenbauer produced 14 goals in 103 matches for Germany.
Bayern Munich tenure
Beckenbauer spent a large portion of his career at Bayern Munich, between 1964 and 1977, making 396 appearances and winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967 and three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976.
In addition, he added the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup four times each to his collection.
During his illustrious career, Beckenbauer lined up for the New York Cosmos in 1977 and won the North American Soccer League three times with another legend, Pele.
The respected star went back to his county in 1980, joining Hamburg, with whom he bagged a fifth German top-tier title in 1982.
He also became the first-ever defender to win the Ballon d'Or, not only once but twice in 1972 and 1976.
Beckenbauer was appointed manager of the West German team in 1984.
Under the helm of Beckenbauer, the Germans advanced to the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico but suffered a 3-2 loss to a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
However, West Germany secured their third World Cup title in Italy in 1990, getting revenge against Argentina for the 1986 final loss.
Later on, Beckenbauer became sports director at Olympique Marseille for a year and bagged a Ligue 1 trophy before two short spells as Bayern's head coach.
Beckenbauer's contributions at Bayern Munich extended beyond his playing days as he later took on a pivotal role as president of the club.
The German great was vice president of Bayern Munich from 1991-1994 and president of Bayern from July 1994 to November 2009.