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|FULL NAME||Franz Anton Beckenbauer|
|Date And Place Of Birth:||11 September 1945. Munich, Germany.|
|Teams:||SC 1906 Munchen, Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos, Hamburg SV, German National Team|
Franz Beckenbauer is generally considered to be one of the most influential football players of modern times. He is generally accredited with having invented the role of the modern sweeper, or libero. He and Mario Zagallo are the only players to have won the FIFA World Cup both as player and coach. He was nicknamed Der Kaiser by the German media due to the word’s royal connotations.
Franz was born in a post-World War II Munich and started playing football at the age of nine. Growing up, he dreamed of playing for 1860 Munich, the biggest club of Bavaria at the time. Circumstances conspired against him and he ended up joining City rivals, Bayern. In his first season with the club, he won promotion to the newly formed national league. It was around this time, Beckenbauer became club captain and led the side to their first league title in the 1968-69 season that he started experimenting with the sweeper role, switching from the left wing.
Over time, he made the role his own. It was his legendary Bayern side that served as a blueprint for all things football in Germany, right up until the 90s when the country felt the need to reinvent its footballing philosophies. Under his captaincy, Bayern won a hat-trick of European Cups, during 1974-76. He ended his playing career in New York Cosmos in 1982 after spending time in Hamburg for three years.
For the national side, Beckenbauer appeared in the 1966 and 1970 World Cups, where he made notable performances. However, his crowning glory came in the 1974 World Cup when he led his country to a victory over Johann Cryuff’s famous side in the final. This gave them the distinction of holding both the World Cup and European Championship titles at the same, a unique achievement at the time.
As a manager, Beckenbauer led the side to the 1986 World Cup final only to be beaten to the prize by a Maradona-inspired Argentina. He got his revenge, however, in the next edition when Germany ran out as winners beating Argentina in a re-run of the previous final.
Beckenbauer continues to be one of Europe’s most decorated players. He won the Bundesliga title 4 times with Bayern and once with Hamburg. He also won the European Cup thrice in a row. As far as individual titles are concerned, Der Kaiser won the Ballon D’Or on two separate occasions, 1972 and 1976. At the 74’s World Cup, he was awarded the Silver Ball. He has been voted on various All Time XIs.
The nickname Der Kaiser is one which is immediately identified with Beckenbauer. As for its origins, Beckenbauer himself narrates a story of how he once posed with a bust of Franz Joseph I, while on tour to Austria with Bayern. The media saw the photo and coined the nickname Football Kaiser which was later shortened to Der Kaiser.
In 1963, when still a youth player at Bayern, Beckenbauer, aged 18, was engulfed in controversy when his girlfriend at the time was revealed to be pregnant and he refused to marry her. Consequently, he was banned from the German youth side by the DFB only to reinstated by the side’s coach, Dettmar Cramer.
Since 1994, Beckenbauer has been at the apex of the Bayern political pyramid. He was made president of the club and then made the chairman of the advisory board in 2002. He, along with his former teammate and good friend, Uli Hoeness, run a tight ship at Bayern. He continues to be a revered figure in German and World Football. He successfully led the German bid for the 2006 World Cup. Along with his administrative roles, he works as a pundit for Sky Germany and columnist for Bild.