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Franz Beckenbauer

Franz BeckenbauerFranz Beckenbauer — Franz Anton Beckenbauer was born on 11 September 1945 in Munich. He is a German football coach, manager, and former player, nicknamed Der Kaiser (“The Emperor”) because of his elegant style, his leadership, his first name “Franz” (reminiscent of the Austrian emperors), and his dominance on the football pitch. He is generally regarded as the greatest German footballer of all time and one of the greatest and most decorated footballers in the history of the game.

Beckenbauer was a versatile player who started out as a midfielder but made his name as a defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper or libero.

Twice selected the European Footballer of the Year, he appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three World Cups. He remains the only player to Captain and manage his country to a World Cup Win. He lifted the World Cup trophy as captain in 1974, and repeated the feat as a manager in 1990. With the club Bayern Munich, he won three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976, and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer is the only player to captain three European Cup winning sides. He went on to become coach and president of the institution. He is also a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

In 1999, he was voted second place, behind Johan Cruyff, in the European player of the Century election held by the IFFHS and he was voted third, behind Pelé and Cruyff, in the IFFHS’ “World Player of the Century” election.

Today, Beckenbauer remains an influential figure in both German and international football. He led Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup and chaired the organizing committee. He also works as a pundit for German television network Sat.1 during their coverage of the UEFA Champions League and writes a football column for mass tabloid Bild.

Early years

Franz Beckenbauer was born in the post-war ruins of Munich, the second son of postal-worker Franz Beckenbauer, Sr. and his wife Antonie. He grew up in the working-class district of Giesing and, despite his father’s cynicism about the game, started playing football at the age of thirteen with the youth team of SC Munich ‘06 in 1954.”

Originally a centre forward, he idolised 1954 World Cup winner Fritz Walter and supported local side 1860 Munich, then the pre-eminent team in the city, despite their relegation from the top league, the Oberliga Süd, in the 1950s. “It was always my dream to play for them” he would later confirm. That he joined the Bayern Munich youth team in 1959, rather than that of his favourites 1860 Munich, was the result of a contentious Under-14 youth tournament in nearby Neubiberg. Beckenbauer and his team-mates were aware that their SC Munich ‘06 club lacked the finance to continue running its youth sides, and had determined to join 1860 Munich as a group upon the tournament’s conclusion. However, fortune decreed that SC Munich and 1860 would meet in the final and a series of niggles during the match eventually resulted in a physical confrontation between Beckenbauer and the opposing centre-half. The ill-feeling this engendered had a strong effect upon Beckenbauer and his teammates, who decided to join Bayern’s youth side rather than the team they had recently come to blows with.

In 1963, at the age of 18, Beckenbauer was engulfed by controversy when it was revealed that his then girlfriend was pregnant and that he had no intention of marrying her. Perhaps as a result of the less permissive social values of the era, he was banned from the West German national youth team by the DFB, and only readmitted after the intervention of the side’s coach Dettmar Cramer.

Club career

Beckenbauer made his debut with Bayern in the Regionalliga Süd (“Regional League South”) on the left wing against Stuttgarter Kickers on 6 June 1964. In his first season in the regional league, 1964–65, the team won promotion to the recently formed Bundesliga, the national league.

Bayern soon became a force in the new German league, winning the German Cup in 1966–67 and achieving European success in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer became team captain for the 1968–69 season and led his club to their first league title. He began experimenting with the sweeper (libero) role around this time, refining the role into a new form and becoming perhaps the greatest exponent of the attacking sweeper game.

1977 Cosmos Jersey

During Beckenbauer’s tenure at Bayern Munich, the club won three league championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 and also a hat-trick of European Cup wins (1974–76) which earned the club the honour of keeping the trophy permanently.

Interestingly, since 1968 Beckenbauer, has been called Der Kaiser by fans and the media. The following anecdote is told (even by Beckenbauer himself) to explain the origin: On the occasion of a friendly game of Bayern Munich in Vienna, Austria, Beckenbauer posed for a photo session right beside a bust of the former Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. The media called him Fußball-Kaiser (football-emperor) afterwards, soon after he was just called Der Kaiser. However, according to a report in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, this explanation is untrue, though very popular. According to the report, Beckenbauer fouled his opposite number, Reinhard Libuda from Schalke 04, in the cup final on 14 June 1969. Disregarding the fans’ hooting, Beckenbauer took the ball into the opposite part of the field, where he balanced the ball in front of the upset fans for half a minute. Libuda was commonly called König von Westfalen (king of Westphalia), so the press looked for an even more exalted moniker and invented Der Kaiser.

Beckenbauer’s popularity was such that he was included as a character in Monty Python’s sketch “The Philosophers’ Football Match” as being a surprise addition to the German team. However, instead of actually playing football, all the “players” walk in circles thinking, much to the confusion of Beckenbauer.

In 1977, Beckenbauer accepted a lucrative contract to play in the North American Soccer League with the New York Cosmos. He played with the Cosmos for four seasons up to 1980, and the team won the Soccer Bowl on three occasions (’77, ‘78, ‘80).

Beckenbauer retired after a two-year spell with Hamburger SV in Germany (1980–82) with the win of the Bundesliga title that year and one final season with the New York Cosmos in 1983. In his career in domestic leagues, he made 587 appearances and scored 81 goals.

International career

Beckenbauer won 103 caps and scored 14 goals for West Germany. He was a member of the World Cup squads that finished runners-up in 1966, third place in 1970, and champions in 1974. Beckenbauer’s first game for the national team came on 26 September 1965.

1966 World Cup

Beckenbauer appeared in his first World Cup in 1966, playing every match. In his first World Cup match, against Switzerland, he scored twice in a 5–0 win. West Germany won their group, and then beat Uruguay 4–0 in quarter-finals, with Beckenbauer scoring the second goal in the 70th minute. In the semi-finals, the Germans faced the USSR. Helmut Haller opened the scoring, with Beckenbauer contributing the second of the match, his fourth goal of the tournament. The Soviets scored a late goal but were unable to draw level, and West Germany advanced to the final against hosts England. The English won the final and the Jules Rimet Trophy in extra time, aided by a controversial goal. The Germans had fallen at the final hurdle, but Beckenbauer had had a notable tournament, finishing tied for third on the list of top scorers—from a non-attacking position. The team returned to a heroes’ welcome in their homeland.

1970 World Cup

West Germany won their first three matches before facing England in second round on a rematch of the 1966 final. The English were ahead 2–0 in the second half, but a spectacular goal by Beckenbauer in the 69th minute helped the Germans recover and equalise before the end of normal time and win the match in extra time. West Germany advanced to the semi-finals to face Italy, in what would be known as the Game of the Century. He fractured his clavicle after being fouled, but he was not deterred from continuing in the match, as his side had already used their two permitted substitutions. He stayed on the field carrying his dislocated arm in a sling. The result of this match was 4–3 (after extra time) in favour of the Italians. Germany defeated Uruguay 1–0 for third place.

1974 World Cup

The 1974 World Cup was hosted by West Germany and Beckenbauer led his side to victory, including a hardfought 2–1 win over the hotly favoured Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruyff. Beckenbauer and fellow defenders man-marked Cruyff so well that the Dutch were never quite able to put their “Total Football” into full use.

Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the new FIFA World Cup Trophy after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1970. This also gave West Germany the distinction of being the only national team at the time to hold both the Euro and World Cup titles simultaneously; France also accomplished this feat in 2000 and Spain in 2010.

European Championships

Beckenbauer became captain of the national side in 1971. In 1972, West Germany won the European Championship, beating the Soviet Union 3–0 in the final. In 1976, West Germany again reached the final, where they lost on penalties to Czechoslovakia.

Managerial career

Franz Beckenbauer (1990) On his return to Germany, Beckenbauer was appointed manager of the West German national team to replace Jupp Derwall. He took the team all the way to the final of the 1986 World Cup, where they lost to Argentina.

In 1990, before the German reunification, Beckenbauer managed the last German team without East German players in a World Cup, winning the final 1–0, against Argentina, in a rematch of the previous World Cup final. Beckenbauer is one of two men (with Mario Zagallo) to have won the Cup as player and as coach, and he is the only man to have won the title as team captain as well as coach.

Beckenbauer then moved into club management, and accepted a job with Olympique de Marseille in 1990 but left them the following year, winning the 1990–91 French championship.

From 28 December 1993 until 30 June 1994, and then from 29 April 1996 until 30 June of the same year, he coached Bayern Munich. His brief spells in charge saw him collect two further honours – the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.

In 1994, he took on the role of club president at Bayern, and much of the Munich giants’ success in the following years has been credited to his astute management. Following the club’s decision to change from an association to a limited company, he has been chairman of the advisory board since the beginning of 2002.

In 1998, he became vice-president of the DFB. At the end of the 1990s, Beckenbauer headed the successful bid by Germany to organize the FIFA World Cup 2006. He chaired the organizational committee for the World Cup and was a commentator for the Bild-Zeitung.

Personal life

Beckenbauer has been married three times and has had five children, one of whom, Stefan, was a professional footballer. After appearing in an ad for a big mobile phone company, Beckenbauer specifically requested the number 0176 / 666666 for his mobile phone. However, he soon was flooded with phone calls by men who thought it was a phone sex number (in German, “6” translates to “sechs”, very close to the word sex).

Honours

Club Bayern Munich

  • Bundesliga –
    • Winner: 1968–1969, 1971–1972, 1972–1973, 1973–1974
  • DFB Cup –
    • Winner: 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971
  • European Cup –
    • Winner: 1973–1974, 1974–1975, 1975–1976
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup
    • Winner: 1967
  • Intercontinental Cup
    • Winner: 1976
  • Regionalliga Süd
    • Winner: 1965 31 matches 16 goals.

Club Hamburg

  • Bundesliga
    • Winner: 1981–1982

Club New York Cosmos

  • NASL Championship
    • Winner: 1976–1977, 1977–1978, 1979–1980
  • Trans-Atlantic Cup Championships
    • Winner: 1980, 1983

Club International

  • FIFA World Cup
    • Winner: 1974
    • Runner-up: 1966
    • Third-Place: 1970
  • UEFA European Football Championship
    • Winner: 1972
    • Runner-up: 1976

Club Managerial

  • FIFA World Cup
    • Winner: 1990
    • Runner-up: 1986
  • Bundesliga
    • Winner: 1993–1994
  • UEFA Cup
    • Winner: 1995–1996

Club Individual

  • Ballon d’Or
  • Winner: 1972, 1976
  • Runner-up: 1974, 1975
  • FIFA World Cup Young Player of the Tournament
    • 1966
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball
    • Runner-up: 1974
  • FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament
    • 1966, 1970, 1974
  • European Football Championships Team of the Tournament
    • 1972, 1976
  • German Footballer of the Year
    • 1966, 1968, 1974, 1976
  • World Soccer Magazine of the Year
    • Winner: 1972, 1976
    • Runner-up: 1974, 1975

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