Franz Beckenbauer

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Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer (born September 11, 1945) is a famous German football player, coach and manager, nicknamed der Kaiser ("the emperor") because of his elegant style, his leadership qualities and his domination on the soccer pitch.

He was born in Munich and started playing football with SC Munich '06, he joined the Bayern Munich youth team aged fourteen. He made his debut with Bayern in the Regionalliga Süd (Regional League South) in June 1964 and advanced to the Bundesliga in 1965. Beckenbauer's first game for the national side came in September 1965 and he played in his first World Cup in 1966. 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 role around this time, refining the role into a new form and becoming one of the greatest exponents of the attacking sweeper game.

He became captain of the national side from 1971, following the disappointing semi-final of the 1970 World Cup during which he was injured. In 1972 West Germany won the European Championship, beating the Soviet Union 3-0 in the final. The 1974 World Cup was hosted by West Germany and Beckenbauer led his side to victory, including a win over the hotly favoured Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruijff. At Bayern Munich Beckenbauer was equally successful, the club won three league championships in a row (1972-74) and also an astonishing hat-trick of European Cup wins (1974-76).

In 1976 West Germany lost the European Championship in the final and 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 until 1981 and the team won the Soccer Bowl on three occasions. He retired in 1984 after a spell with Hamburger SV in Germany and one final season with the Cosmos. He had 103 caps and had scored 14 goals, in the domestic league he had made 424 appearances and scored 44 goals.

On his return to Germany he was appointed manager of the national side to replace the lacklustre Jupp Derwall and he took an underwhelming team all the way to the final of the World Cup 1986 where they lost to Argentina. In 1990 Beckenbauer managed the last West German team in a World Cup before the reunification, winning the final with a victory over Argentina. He is one of two men (with Mario Zagallo) to have won the cup as player and as manager.

Beckenbauer then made a move into club management, he accepted a job with Olympique Marseille in 1990 but left them the following year. He returned to Bayern Munich in 1992 and in 1994 he was made club president. In 1998 he became vice-president of the DFB. Beckenbauer is considered one of the best players of all time. In 2004 he was voted the second best European player in the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.

More recently, Beckenbauer has headed the bid of Germany to organize the World Cup in 2006. He is now chairman of the organization committee for the World Cup and commentator for the Bild-Zeitung.

External links


Preceded by:
Johan Cruyff
European Footballer of the Year
1972
Succeeded by:
Johan Cruyff
Preceded by:
Oleg Blokhin
European Footballer of the Year
1976
Succeeded by:
Allan Simonsen

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