Home champions-league Tributes flood in as Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer passes away aged 78

Tributes flood in as Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer passes away aged 78

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German legend Franz Beckenbauer, widely regarded as one of greatest ever players, has sadly passed away at the age of 78.

He won the World Cup as captain of West Germany in 1974 and lifted the trophy again as manager in 1990, beating Argentina in the final.

The former defender played 582 times for Bayern Munich, winning the German top flight as both as a player and a manager.

Nicknamed Der Kaiser, as a player he also won the European Championship in 1972, as well as the Ballon d’Or twice.

A statement from his family to German news agency DPA read: “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.

“We ask that you allow us to grieve in silence and refrain from asking any questions.”

Playing as a midfielder, Beckenbauer man-marked Sir Bobby Charlton in the 1966 World Cup final, which England won 4-2, before shifting to his iconic position as a defensive sweeper.

He also scored four goals at the 1966 World Cup, aged just 20, and won the award for the tournament’s best young player.

He went on to play 103 times for West Germany.

Beckenbauer is one of only three men to have lifted the World Cup as both a player and a manager, along with Brazil’s Mário Zagallo and France’s Didier Deschamps.

As a player at Bayern, he won four league titles and was captain for the German giants’ three European Cup wins in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He also won the Bundesliga with Hamburg.

“The Bundesliga family is devastated to learn of the death of Franz Beckenbauer. A true icon, then, now, and always. RIP, Der Kaiser,” the league said.

Beckenbauer the best German player ever

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann added: “For me, Franz Beckenbauer was the best footballer in German history.

“His interpretation of the role of the libero changed the game, this role and his friendship with the ball made him a free man.

“Franz Beckenbauer was able to float on the lawn, as a footballer and later also as a coach he was sublime, he stood above things.

“When Franz Beckenbauer entered a room, the room lit up, he rightly earned the title ‘lighting figure of German football’.

“An aura surrounded him until the end, which even the health problems and strokes of fate that he had to cope with could not shake it.

“I am grateful and proud that I was able to get to know him and will remember him fondly.”

The Premier League also put the following out on X: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Franz Beckenbauer, one of football’s greatest ever players.

“A World Cup winner as both player and manager, ‘Der Kaiser’ was as elegant as he was dominant.

“He will forever be remembered”.

Former England striker Gary Lineker also tweeted: “Very sorry to hear that Franz Beckenbauer has died. One of the absolute greats of our game. Der Kaiser was the most beautiful of footballers who won it all with grace and charm. RIP.”

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