Franz Beckenbauer Biography
Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a retired professional football player and a manager who played for West Germany and FC Bayern Munich. Born on 11 September 1945 in Munich, Germany, Beckenbauer is considered as one of the greatest center-backs of all time.
The defender, who revolutionized the ‘sweeper’ or the offensive defender role, has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or twice in his career and is one of the German greats.
Franz Beckenbauer is one of the few players to have won the World Cup both as a player and a manager.
Beckenbauer was interested in football from a young age. In spite of his father being against the sport, he joined SC Munich ‘06 at the age of nine.
He later joined FC Bayern Munich’s youth side at the age of fifteen after a fall-out with his idol club 1860 Munich, Bayern Munich’s local rivals.
Franz Beckenbauer made his debut with FC Bayern Munich on 6 June 1964 against Stuttgart Kickers in the Regionalliga Sud, the second tier of the German league. Bayern Munich won the season and were promoted to the Bundesliga the next year. Beckenbauer played as a forward back then.
The team became one of the European powerhouses in the next few years winning major trophies. This led to a young Beckenbauer being called up for the national side for the 1966 FIFA World Cup in which he made his international debut, aged 21. He scored four goals in the competition, with West Germany finishing as runners up to England.
Rise to Glory
Beckenbauer controlled the midfield with his excellent vision, craftful technique, pinpoint accuracy, mettlesome attitude and above all, a calm and composed demeanor too mature for his young age. He was appointed as the captain of the Bayern team in 1968.
Bayern Munich flourished under Beckenbauer’s leadership, winning three straight league titles and European Cups. He scored 64 goals in 439 appearances for Bayern Munich. His tenure earned him the title of ‘Der Kaiser’, meaning The Emperor by the media and fans.
In the 1970 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico, Franz contributed with a 69th minute goal to help Germany beat rivals England in the second round.
However, West Germany lost to Italy in the semifinals of the tournament. During the match, Beckenbauer dislocated his shoulder following a foul. With his hand strapped to his body with tape, he gave his everything on the pitch till extra time before narrowly losing the game 4-3.
Beckenbauer was then made the captain of the national team in 1971, at the age of 26. He led the team to a European Cup victory in 1972, further reinforcing Beckenbauer’s leadership skills. The captain then guided his team to World Champions’ title in 1974. His inspired German side beat Johan Cruyff-led Netherlands 2-1 in the finals.
Beckenbauer has scored 14 goals from 103 appearances for West Germany.
Beckenbauer left Bayern Munich in 1977 and moved to New York Cosmos following a lucrative contract. The American club won three titles under his four years of leadership. He moved back to Germany with a transfer to Hamburg SV and stayed there for two more seasons, winning the league in his last season.
Franz Beckenbauer announced his retirement from professional football in 1983. He was then appointed as the manager of West Germany and took the side to the final as they lost by a fine margin to Argentina.
After the unification of Germany, he won the World Cup in 1988 managing the German national team in a rematch of 1984 final, with his team winning 1-0 against Argentina.
After managing Bayern Munich and guiding them to league and cup success in 1993, he became the Vice President of the club in 1994 and is a member of the advisory board till date.
Beckenbauer was caught up in a money laundering and tax evasion scandal recently, the origin of which dates back to 2012. Franz had always insisted on transparency in the bidding to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but after a couple of years, it was revealed he had been paid €5.5 million.
The news of betrayal did not go down well with the fans, and Beckenbauer’s status as a national hero dropped to being labeled as a corrupt and a fraud in a space of 11 months.
Beckenbauer Record in Numbers
Beckenbauer was awarded the German Footballer of the Year in 1966, 1968, 1974 and 1976 and the ‘European Player of the Year Award’ in 1972 and 1976.
Franz Beckenbauer won the FIFA Presidential award in 2012.