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Football Legend Franz Beckenbauer, Dual World Cup Champion, Dies At 78



Football Legend Franz Beckenbauer, Dual World Cup Champion, Dies At 78

Franz Beckenbauer, one of football’s all-time greats and a unique figure who lifted the World Cup both as a player and manager, has died at the age of 78.

An emblematic figure in German football, Beckenbauer earned 104 caps for West Germany, captaining them to victory in the 1974 World Cup and repeating the feat as their manager in Italy 16 years later. His illustrious career also saw him conquer Europe with Bayern Munich, claiming three European Cups in the mid-70s, all while excelling as a defender.

Affectionately nicknamed “Der Kaiser,” Beckenbauer was celebrated for his elegance and command on the field. He mastered the modern sweeper role, or libero, and is credited with its development.

While his later years were clouded by accusations of impropriety, particularly surrounding the 2006 World Cup, Beckenbauer’s life was otherwise illuminated by remarkable achievements.

Born in Munich’s working-class district of Giesling in 1945, Beckenbauer began as a 1860 Munich fan but rose through Bayern’s youth ranks. Initially a forward, he debuted for Bayern in 1964 as a left-winger in West Germany’s second tier. His shift to midfield coincided with Bayern’s promotion, and he soon became captain, guiding them to their first Bundesliga title in 1969.

Beckenbauer’s influence at Bayern was profound. He led them to a hat-trick of domestic titles from 1972-74 and secured three European titles from 1974-76. His international debut for West Germany in a 1966 World Cup qualifier marked the start of a stellar career, with his goal and commanding defense contributing to a crucial 2-1 victory that secured their place in the finals.
Subsequently captaining the team, Beckenbauer steered West Germany to victory in the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup on home soil, etching his name in history.

His accolades, including Ballon d’Or wins in 1972 and 1976, led to his retirement in 1984 after a stint with the New York Cosmos. Despite lacking formal coaching experience, he took the helm of West Germany, guiding them to the 1986 World Cup final and finally lifting the trophy in Italia 90, mirroring his on-field achievement.

Following managerial stints at Marseille and Bayern, where he secured Bundesliga and UEFA Cup victories, Beckenbauer held administrative roles at Bayern and the German Football Association.

Despite his brilliance as a player and manager, Beckenbauer’s legacy was tarnished by allegations of corruption. He faced suspension by FIFA in 2014 for failing to assist an inquiry into alleged corruption in World Cup bids. His contributions to the FIFA executive committee that awarded the tournaments were also scrutinised.

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