On the death of Franz Beckenbauer: The sporting career of the "Kaiser"

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As a footballer and coach, Franz Beckenbauer was a shining light. Following setbacks to his health, things recently became quieter around the “Kaiser”. Now Franz Beckenbauer has passed away at the age of 78. recalls his most important stages and successes as a player and team manager.

Franz Beckenbauer in 1976: In that year he became European Champion, European Cup Winner, Intercontinental Cup Winner and Footballer of the Year in Germany and Europe.
Franz Beckenbauer in 1976: In that year he became European Champion, European Cup Winner, Intercontinental Cup Winner and Footballer of the Year in Germany and Europe.

World champion as a player in 1974, world champion as team manager in 1990, organizer of the 2006 World Cup - Germany mourns the loss of its greatest soccer legend. On Sunday, January 7, 2024, Franz Beckenbauer lost his last battle at the age of 78. He had been suffering from a number of illnesses for some time, including Parkinson's disease with associated dementia, according to media reports. Due to his irresistible aura, Beckenbauer, who was also awarded the ISPO Cup after winning the 1990 World Cup, was often referred to as a "shining light". The controversies surrounding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup did nothing to diminish this nimbus. It is alleged that millions were paid to bring the tournament to Germany.

"With Franz Beckenbauer, we are losing one of the very first world athletes who, despite all his successes, remained a true Munich native with a heart. An ambassador of sport and a worthy sponsor of the ISPO Cup."
Tobias Gröber, Head of ISPO Group

Harry Valérien mit Franz Beckenbauer bei einer Aufzeichnung des aktuellen Sportstudios aus den Hallen der ISPO.
Franz Beckenbauer (right) in 1973 during a recording of the current sports studio from the halls of ISPO.
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Franz Beckenbauer's unique career in football began right on his doorstep in Munich's Giesing neighborhood. Because there, in the south of Munich, the sports field of SC 1906 Munich was right in front of the Beckenbauers' apartment. Franz Beckenbauer started playing football there at the age of six, before, at 14, he joined FC Bayern München in 1959 - the club with which he celebrated his greatest successes.

In 1964, at the age of 18, Beckenbauer made his debut in the first Bayern team and quickly became a top performer - initially in midfield, later as a libero with offensive drive. In 1965, together with later stars such as Gerd Müller or Sepp Maier, he led the Bavarians into the Bundesliga for the first time and later to four championships.

From Munich via New York to Hamburg

From 1974 to 1976 Beckenbauer was the head of the team that won the European Cup three times in a row.

In 1977, Beckenbauer then moved to the USA to play for the New York Cosmos, where he played with Brazil's legend Pele and won the championship three times by 1980.

In 1980, Beckenbauer returned to Germany to Hamburger SV, for whom he played 28 more Bundesliga games until 1982, before he ended his active career after another brief stint at the New York Cosmos in 1983.

After his debut in 1965, Beckenbauer also quickly advanced to become a regular in the national team and then captain. He became world champion with Germany in 1974 and European Champion in 1972. In 1966 he also reached the World Cup final and in 1976 the European Championship final.

Franz Beckenbauer: Also successful as a trainer

As team manager of the German national team from 1984 to 1990, Beckenbauer initially missed out on major titles before he took his leave as world champion with his triumph at the 1990 World Cup in Italy in the final against Argentina and his legendary lonely walk across the field in Rome. Beckenbauer and Brazilian Mario Zagallo are the first two footballers, who became world champions both as a player and a coach.

Beckenbauer took over as interim head coach at FC Bayern twice in the 1990s, winning titles twice: the German championship in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.

Franz Beckenbauer: The Clubs of his Career

As a player in the men's field:

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

As a manager:

  • 1984-1990 Germany (team manager)
  • 1990-1991 Olympique Marseille
  • 1994 FC Bayern Munich (interim)
  • 1996 FC Bayern Munich (interim)

Franz Beckenbauer: His Titles and Honors

As a player:

  • World Champion: 1974
  • European Champion: 1972
  • Intercontinental Cup winner: 1976
  • Winner European Cup of the national champions (3): 1974, 1975, 1976
  • European Cup Winners Cup: 1967
  • German champion (5): 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1982
  • DFB Cup winner (4): 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971
  • US champion in the North American Soccer League (3): 1977, 1978, 1980

As a manager:

  • World Champion: 1990
  • UEFA Cup winner: 1996
  • German Champion: 1994
  • French champion: 1991


  • Ballon d'Or (European Footballer of the Year): 1972, 1976
  • Germany's footballer of the year: 1966, 1968, 1974, 1976
  • Honorary captain of the German national football team: 1982
  • Silver laurel leaf: 1966, 1967
  • FIFA World Cup of the 20th century, 1998
  • 3rd place in the election of the world footballer of the 20th century: 1999
  • Germany's footballer of the century: 2000
  • ISPO Cup: 1990
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