German football legend Franz Beckenbauer died on Sunday, his family reported to the German press agency on Monday DPA. The former defender was 78 years old.
Beckenbauer had been seriously ill for some time and for that reason had not appeared in public in Germany for some time. According to his family, ‘Der Kaiser’ died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, surrounded by his relatives.
Beckenbauer is considered the best German footballer of all time. The icon, known for his elegant style, crowned world champion with West Germany in 1974 by beating Johan Cruijff’s Netherlands in the final (1-2). Two years earlier he also became European champion with the Germans.
Beckenbauer was also particularly successful in a club context. With Bayern Munich he became national champion four times and won the European Cup I three times in a row. The two-time European Footballer of the Year played no fewer than 427 games for ‘Der Rekordmeister’ from 1964 to 1977. He played 103 international matches for West Germany.
Later, Beckenbauer also stringed together successes as a coach. He led the German team to the world title in Italy in 1990 and became national champion as coach of Bayern Munich in 1994. From 1994 to 2009 he was president of Bayern Munich.
‘Der Kaiser’ was known for its elegant style
Beckenbauer was not only active for Bayern Munich during his career. He played for New York Cosmos from 1977 to 1980 and in 1983, where he became a teammate of Guus Hiddink and Johan Neeskens, among others. He also served Hamburger SV (1980-1982), with which he became national champion.
As Germany’s star player, Beckenbauer quickly acquired the nickname ‘Der Kaiser’. It was a logical nickname for the defender, who commanded the pitch with his elegance and game intelligence. With Cruijff he was the greatest football player in the 1970s.
With Beckenbauer as a player and later as a trainer, Bayern Munich and Germany entered a particularly successful era. Beckenbauer won thirteen prizes in fourteen years with Bayern. As national coach of Germany, he also reached the World Cup final in 1986 before becoming world champion four years later.
Beckenbauer became discredited in the previous decade because Swiss justice suspected him of bribing a FIFA director in awarding the 2006 World Cup to Germany. Beckenbauer was one of the initiators behind that World Cup. He denied all involvement. The case against the icon did not proceed because it had expired.
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl