Franz Beckenbauer, the greatest legend of German football, died on Sunday at the age of 78. The family made this known to the German news agency Dpa. Beckenbauer won the football World Cup twice: in 1974 in West Germany as a player and in 1990 in Italy as a coach. The athlete also worked hard to ensure that the 2006 World Cup was held in his homeland.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family,” his wife and children announce.
“We ask that you be able to cry in silence and refrain from asking questions”adds the statement from his loved ones.
Beckenbauer arrived at FC Bayern Munich when he was only 14 years old and he stands out for the elegance of his dribbling playing in the team of the capital of Bavaria, where he was born in 1945, a few months after the end of the Second World War. The defender wins four national titles and wins the European Cup three times.
His first call-up to the West German national team came in 1965, at just 20 years old. At the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, during the semi-final lost 4-3 against Italy and dubbed “the match of the century”, despite having a shoulder injury, he takes the field with a noticeable bandage. “After Brazil, Italy was the strongest team,” Beckenbauer admitted once the World Cup was over, and then added: “I would gladly play in Italy if offers arrived”.
In 1974 he triumphed with West Germany in the World Cup played on home soil, but in 1972 he had already come first in the European Championships in Belgium, after beating the Soviet Union 3-0 in the final.
After playing for a few years in the United States with the New York Cosmos, where he found himself on the pitch side by side with PeléBeckenbauer returns to Germany and wears the Hamburger SV shirt for a season.
After the disappointment of the 1984 European Championships, in which West Germany was eliminated in Group B by Spain and Portugal and was excluded from the semi-finals, Beckenbauer became the team leader of the national team. Despite not having a coaching license, he was the one who prepared the German players in view of the 1986 World Cup final which they lost against Maradona’s Argentina.
Four years later, at Italia 1990, the two national teams meet again in the final and this time Beckenbauer’s Germany takes revenge.
After the triumph Beckenbauer leaves office and Berti Vogts takes his place. Franz chooses to return to his first love, Bayern Munich, in a moment of crisis at the time. On 28 December 1993 he took over the reins of the team and at the end of the season won the championship.
It is precisely the prestige and communication skills of the former defender ensure that Germany manages to win the 2006 World Cup.
A success that for Beckenbauer turns into the most difficult moment of his life, when controversy erupted over some unclear payments. The story also leads to an investigationwith the charges against the former champion ending in statute of limitations.
“He was the greatest German footballer of all time: but be careful, he wasn’t a libero. He was a player who occupied a lot of space on the pitch, from in front of the defense to behind the attacker. And throughout that pitch he put his many ideas.” Gianni Rivera crossed Franz Beckenbauer in the match of the century, Italy-Germany 4-3 at the Atzecasemi-final of Mexico 1970.
“He was there too, there in front of the goal, when I scored the 4-3 – continues Rivera -. I remember his face, only the goalkeeper, Maier, was angrier than him. But then at the end of the game he said goodbye to us. He was a great gentleman, even off the pitch.”
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