Franz Beckenbauer

11. September 1945, München

1964-1977 FC Bayern München
1977-1980 New York Cosmos
1980-1982 Hamburger SV
1983 New York Cosmos

424 appearances, 44 goals (Bundesliga)
105 appearances, 19 goals (North American Soccer League, USA)

Deutscher Meister: 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1982
DFB-Pokalsieger: 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971
Europapokal der Landesmeister: 1974. 1975, 1976
Europapokal der Pokalsieger: 1967
US-Meister: 1977, 1978, 1980
Weltpokalsieger: 1976

National Team:
103 caps (14 goals)
Vize-Weltmeister: 1966
WM-Dritter: 1970
Europameister: 1972
Weltmeister: 1974
Vize-Europameister: 1976

Wherever in the world people compile lists of the most famous German personalities, his name is almost certain to feature. And though 'Kaiser' is merely a nickname in his case rather than a ruling title, Franz Beckenbauer ranks in stature alongside Marx and Merkel, Beethoven and Bismark, and Engels and Einstein.

In 2000, he was voted Germany's Footballer of the Century in an official poll organised by the German Sportswriters Association (VDS) and kicker-Sportmagazin. Like no other, he stands for lightness of being on a football pitch. Having already excelled in midfield for several years, he then created the ideal position for himself, going on to become its greatest ever exponent. In the role of sweeper (libero), a free-ranging operative behind the backline, he shaped his team's build-up play with his elegance, vision and trademark outside-of-the-foot passes and, doing full justice to his nickname, honed his strategic skills on the pitch in the manner of a commander-in-chief.

He captained the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup winning teams. After 103 appearances for his country, a successful international career came to an end when he left Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga to join the New York Cosmos. His time on the US Eastern Seaboard allowed him to further mature as a personality. On his return, he won the Bundesliga title once again with Hamburger SV. As soon as he retired as a player, the German Football Association created a new position for him, that of 'team manager', his lack of a coaching badge ruling him out as national team coach. In this role, he guided Germany to the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico and then, four years later, victory in Italy on his last day in the job. The way he strolled across the pitch at Rome's Olympic Stadium after the game, seemingly lost in thought, had a weightless feel to it. Franz Beckenbauer and the lightness of being.

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