Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Franz Anton Beckenbauer, who was regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died at the age of 78. The two time World Cup winner as a captain in 1974 and a manager in 1990 with West Germany died in his sleep on Sunday, January 7.
Beckenbauer, nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, is a Bayern Munich legend; a Beckenbauer family statement read he “passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family.”
Franz Beckenbauer, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper.
Beckenbauer also won the European Championship in 1972 and played 103 times for West Germany.
At club level, Beckenbauer is considered a Bayern Munich legend having won three successive European Cups with the German giants from 1974-76 along with four Bundesliga titles. He played 582 times for Bayern.
Beckenbauer also managed Bayern to Bundesliga glory in 1994 and a UEFA Cup triumph in 1996.
The family asked that they grieve in silence and the press refrain from asking any questions.
Lothar Matthaus captained Germany’s 1990 World Cup-winning side and paid tribute to his former manager and friend.
“The shock is deep, even though I knew that Franz wasn’t feeling well. His death is a loss for football and for Germany as a whole,” Matthaus told German media outlet Bild.
“He was one of the greatest as a player and coach, but also off the field. Franz was an outstanding personality not only in football, and he enjoyed worldwide recognition.
“Everyone who knew him knows what a great and generous person Franz was. A good friend left us. I will miss him – we will all miss him.”