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Franz Beckenbauer, World Cup-winning German and Bayern Munich great, dies aged 78

Franz Beckenbauer, one of only three men two have won the FIFA World Cup as a player and as a manager, has died at the age of 78.

Early Life and Rise to Stardom

Born in Giesling, Munich, in September 1945, Franz Beckenbauer grew up as a fan of 1860 Munich. His journey with football began in Bayern’s youth squad, making his debut as a left-winger in 1964. Despite Bayern’s earlier struggles, Beckenbauer’s versatility and leadership saw them rise, winning their first Bundesliga title in 1968-69.

International Triumphs

Beckenbauer’s international career started at 20, marking the beginning of a golden era for West Germany. He led the team to victory in the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup, earning him the Ballon d’Or in 1972 and 1976. His impact extended beyond position norms, showcasing exceptional ball control and vision.

Club Success with Bayern Munich

In his 13 years with Bayern Munich (1964-1977), Beckenbauer achieved remarkable success. He played a pivotal role in winning three consecutive European Cup titles (1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76), five German league titles, and several other trophies, solidifying his status as one of the greatest defenders of all time.

New York Cosmos and Final Playing Years

Beckenbauer’s post-Bayern playing career included a stint with the New York Cosmos until 1980, led by Brazil’s Pele. After returning to Germany for a brief spell with Hamburger SV, he concluded his playing journey with the Cosmos in 1983.

Transition to Management

Beckenbauer seamlessly transitioned to management in 1984, becoming West Germany’s manager. Despite no prior coaching experience, he guided the team to back-to-back World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990, winning the latter as a manager. He joined Marseille briefly, securing the Ligue 1 title, before returning to manage Bayern.

Leadership in the Boardroom

Beckenbauer’s influence extended off the pitch as he became Bayern’s club president in 1994. Alongside Uli Hoeness, his leadership played a crucial role in the club’s continued success. He later served as the vice-president of the German Football Association in 1998.

Legacy and Controversies

Beckenbauer’s legacy includes heading Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup and organizing the tournament. However, his later years saw controversy, with allegations of corruption related to World Cup bids. Despite facing suspensions and fines, he remained an influential figure in German football.

Franz Beckenbauer, World Cup-winning German and Bayern Munich great, dies aged 78_4.1


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