Bayern ‘take a bow’ to legend Beckenbauer


Allianz Arena says Thank You Franz Image: FC Bayern

Franz Beckenbauer, the German football legend, passed away on January 7th, 2024 at the age of 78 from natural causes. Beckenbauer, also known as ‘Der Kaiser’, was one of only three people to win the FIFA World Cup™ as both a player and a coach.

Beckenbauer was the player, Manager and President of the Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich. As a mark of tribute and gratitude to one of the world’s greatest soccer players Beckenbauer the Bayern Munich home – the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, has been illuminated with the words – ‘Danke Franz’ (‘Thank you Franz’).

Beckenbauer played for Bayern Munich 582 times, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967 and three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976. He was the first player to win three European Cups as the captain of his club.

Beckenbauer also managed Bayern Munich, winning the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Cup in 1996. He was also the Chairman of the FC Bayern Munich AG Supervisory Board from 2002 to 2009. Beckenbauer was also the Vice-President of the German Football Association (DFB) from 1998 to 2010.

The German Football Association (DFB) is the governing body of football, futsal and beach soccer in Germany. A founding member of FIFA and UEFA, the DFB has jurisdiction for the German football league system and is in charge of the men’s and women’s national teams. The DFB headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, as well as some Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Since 2022, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

‘REUTERS’ stated that Beckenbauer bestrode the sport as player, coach, pundit, and administrator for more than half a century and was widely admired globally, with messages of sympathy pouring in from across the world on January 8th.

Read a statement from his family, “It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 7th surrounded by his family.”

The FC Bayern Munich, or simply Bayern, is a German professional sports club based in Munich, Bavaria (Germany). It is best known for its professional men’s association football team, which plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. Bayern is the most successful club in German football history, having won a record 33 national titles, including 11 consecutively since 2013, and 20 national cups, along with numerous European honors.

The Allianz Arena is a football stadium in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, with a 70,000 seating capacity for international matches and 75,000 for domestic matches. Widely known for its exterior of inflated ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) plastic panels, it is the first stadium in the world with a full color changing exterior.

‘REUTERS’ further stated that the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X, “World Cup winner as player and coach: Franz Beckenbauer was one of the greatest footballers in Germany and for many ‘Der Kaiser’ also because of the excitement for German football he created for generations. We will miss him. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Beckenbauer was a classy, dominant presence on the pitch for West Germany and Bayern Munich in the 1960s and ’70s, using a calmness on the ball and effortless distribution that marked his midfield performances to virtually invent the central defensive sweeper role, or ‘libero’ where he found most success.

The club said in a statement, “The world of FC Bayern is no longer what it was – suddenly it is darker, quieter and poorer. The German record champions are grieving the loss of Franz Beckenbauer, the unique ‘Kaiser’ without whom FC Bayern would not have become the club it is today.”

He earned 103 caps for West Germany, winning the 1972 European Championship and then the World Cup on home soil two years later, having lost in the final to England in 1966.

In 1970 he famously played for much of the classic World Cup semi-final against Italy with his arm in a sling, having dislocated his shoulder and broken his collar bone.

His Bayern team were the best club side in the world during the mid-1970s, winning three successive European Cups and three straight Bundesliga titles, and Beckenbauer was twice named European footballer of the year.

He then made a controversial move to the United States, joining the ‘All-Star’ New York Cosmos team, who he helped to three domestic titles, before returning to Germany and helping Hamburger SV to the Bundesliga crown.

Beckenbauer became the national team coach in 1984 despite having no previous experience and led West Germany to the 1986 World Cup final where they lost to Diego Maradona’s Argentina.

Four years later, he led a combined Germany team to victory in the final over the Argentines.

Beckenbauer was one of the three men to have won the World Cup as a player and then coach and his death comes three days after the first to do it – Brazil’s Mário Zagallo who passed away on January 5th, 2024. France’s Didier Deschamps is the other.

Maintained Deschamps, “It was a huge honor for me to join them both in 2018 as those who won the World Cup as a player and then as a coach. He (Beckenbauer) exuded a class, a confidence that many sought to be inspired by. Franz Beckenbauer was an extremely respected personality, who embodied the demands of the very highest level.”

Lamented Lothar Matthaeus, Beckenbauer’s victorious captain at Italia 90 (the World Cup held in Italy which Germany won), “The shock is deep, even though I knew that Franz wasn’t well. His death is a loss for football and for Germany as a whole. He was one of the greatest as a player and coach, but also off the pitch. 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.”

Beckenbauer tasted more domestic success as Manager and then the club President at Bayern before becoming the Vice-President of the German Football Association, playing a key role in Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup.

However, in 2016, he was fined by the Ethics Committee of world soccer’s governing body FIFA for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into corruption over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Another FIFA inquiry into Beckenbauer’s actions regarding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup was dropped without any charges being made due to a statute of limitations issue.

But it is for his incredible achievements on the pitch and in the dugout that Beckenbauer will be remembered.

Franz Beckenbauer rewrote the history of German football and left a lasting impact on it,” said his former teammate and longtime Bayern head honcho Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

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