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World champion from 1990 and 1974 dies at the age of 78

Franz Beckenbauer is dead. The greatest German football legend died on Sunday at the age of 78, as his family announced to the German Press Agency on Monday. Beckenbauer was also one of the greatest in football worldwide, he became world champion as a player and coach and brought the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

He was the much-praised figure of light. “It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family,” the family said. “We ask that you be able to mourn in silence and refrain from asking any questions.”

The role of the libero redefined

Beckenbauer came to FC Bayern as a junior player and quickly rose to become one of the key players for the Munich team. The boy from the Giesing district won, among other things, four national championship titles, was three times winner of the European Cup and World Cup winner.

With his elegance and lightness on the field, he redefined the role of the libero and crowned his career by winning the home World Cup in 1974. Two years earlier he had already led the German European Championship winning team.

After a few years in the USA with Cosmos New York, where he played in a legendary team with Pelé, Beckenbauer returned to Germany and won another championship title with Hamburger SV in 1982. After the preliminary round exit at the 1984 European Championships, he became team boss at the DFB without a coaching license and led the national team straight into the 1986 World Cup final against Argentina, which was lost 2-3. Four years later, they took revenge against Diego Maradona & Co. with the World Cup triumph in Rome.

Beckenbauer resigned – not without leaving his successor Berti Vogts with a heavy burden of claiming invincibility. Beckenbauer returned to FC Bayern as a coach when his Munich team was in crisis in the mid-1990s.

Aftertaste because of the World Cup award

The DFB used his charisma and polyglot brilliance in its bid for the 2006 World Cup. The summer fairy tale was Beckenbauer’s highlight as an official – and at the same time difficult for him personally. There were allegations when dubious payments became public. Former top German politicians defended Beckenbauer in the scandal surrounding the 2006 World Cup.

The accusations surrounding the awarding of the World Cup with dubious payments of millions left a late aftertaste for Beckenbauer’s impressive life’s work. In the summer of 2019, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office separated the proceedings against him from those of his co-accused on suspicion of fraud. Ultimately, like the case against three close companions from the summer fairy tale era, it came under the statute of limitations.

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