BERLIN — Legendary German footballer Franz Beckenbauer, affectionately known as Der Kaiser, has passed away at the age of 78. A pivotal figure in the world of football, Beckenbauer's illustrious career saw him leave an indelible mark as both a player and a manager.
Beckenbauer, a key player in West Germany's triumphant 1974 World Cup campaign, later replicated the feat as a manager in 1990. Known for his versatility and elegance on the field, he played 582 times for Bayern Munich, achieving success as both player and manager in the German top flight.
Nicknamed Der Kaiser, Beckenbauer's contributions extended beyond national glory. He secured the European Championship in 1972 and claimed the Ballon d’Or twice during his playing career. Notably, he played a defining role in Bayern Munich's three European Cup victories in 1974, 1975, and 1976.
The Bundesliga family expressed deep sorrow at the loss, recognizing Beckenbauer as a true icon in the football world. Bernd Neuendorf, president of the German Football Association, hailed him as one of the sport's best players, emphasizing Beckenbauer's impact on and off the field.
Beckenbauer's legacy also includes being one of the few individuals to lift the World Cup as both a player and a manager, joining the ranks of Mário Zagallo and Didier Deschamps. His influence extended globally, with successful spells at New York Cosmos and Hamburg.
The Premier League, on behalf of football enthusiasts, mourned the passing of one of the sport's greatest players, acknowledging Beckenbauer's elegance and dominance on the field.
The German football community expressed profound sadness, with Heike Ullrich, general secretary of the German Football Association, highlighting Beckenbauer's significant influence on the nation's football history. The DFB campus, a testament to Beckenbauer's vision for a sporting competence center, stands as part of his enduring legacy.
Reflecting on his impact, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann hailed Beckenbauer as the best footballer in German history, crediting him with changing the game through his interpretation of the libero role. The football world mourns the loss of a true legend, a player and personality whose name will forever be synonymous with the beauty and brilliance of the beautiful game.