Franz Beckenbauer – Der Kaiser
Franz Beckenbauer Player Profile
Franz Beckenbauer is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in the history of German and world football. He is often associated with having invented the role of the modern sweeper, which if you didn’t know is a defensive player who intervenes proactively in the offensive game of his team. The legacy that Beckenbauer has left in football has seen him named European Footballer of the Year twice. Being chosen on the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, and the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002. I think any fan of German football will be able to tell you that Beckenbauer is an icon of the Bundesliga and the national team. He is one of only three men to have won the World Cup both as a player and as a manager. Over the course of his career, he scored 81 goals in 587 appearances. Not a bad return for a defender mind.
Franz Beckenbauer was born in the post war ruins of Munich, the second son of postal worker Franz Beckenbauer Sr and his wife Antonie. He grew up in the working class district of Giesing and, despite his father’s cynicism about the game, started playing football at the age of nine with the youth team of SC Munich ’06 in 1954 and the rest is now history.
Not many people know this about Der Kaiser but he originally started playing football as a centre forward. One of his idols, when he was growing up, was Fritz Walter who was a part of the 1954 FIFA World Cup winning side, and he supported his local side 1860 Munich. This was when 1860 Munich were considered the best side in Munich despite relegation from the Oberliga Süd in the 1950s, something you wouldn’t say now. “It was always my dream to play for them” he would later confirm”. He then joined the Bayern Munich youth side in 1959 rather than his boyhood club, 1860 Munich.
Franz Beckenbauer made his debut for Bayern Munich in the Regionalliga Süd. In this game, he played out on the left wing against Stuttgarter Kickers in June 1964. In his first season with Bayern Munich, the side won promotion to the recently formed Bundesliga. It didn’t take long for Bayern to become a force in the new top tier. by winning the German cup in the 1966/67 season and achieving European success in the cup winners cup. Beckenbauer was then appointed the team captain for the 1968/69 season which is also the season they won their first Bundesliga title. It was also at this time he started to experiment in the sweeper role too.
Things then went very well for Beckenbauer and Bayern Munich as they went on to win 3 consecutive Bundesliga titles from 1972 to 1974 and also 3 European Cup wins in 1974-1976 which meant that the club could keep the title permanently.
Why Is Franz Beckenbauer Called Der Kaiser?
Since 1968 Beckenbauer has been labeled as “Der Kaiser” by both fans and the media. The name comes from a friendly game of Bayern Munich in Vienna, Austria. Beckenbauer posed for a photo session right beside a bust of the former Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. The media called him Fußball-Kaiser (Which translates in English as ‘Football Emporer’) afterward, soon after he was just called Der Kaiser.
New York Cosmos
In 1977 a lucrative opportunity arose to sign for New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. He played there for 4 seasons up until the end of 1980 where the side won 3 soccer bowls in that time in the years of 1977, 1978, and 1980. He would later return in 1983 after spending 2 years at Hamburger SV. Winning 1 league title, for one season before his retirement.
Franz Beckenbauer & Germany
It is no surprise that a player as good as Beckenbauer made 103 appearances for his national side. In that time he scored 14 goals for West Germany. Beckenbauer was an integral part of the side that became one of the dominant forces in world football in the early 70’s. He represented them in 3 world cups before hanging up his boots (1966, 1970 and 1974). In 1966, the Germans had fallen at the final hurdle losing to England, but Beckenbauer had a notable tournament. He finished tied for third on the list of top scorers from his natural defensive role.
Germany lost in the semi finals of the 1970 World Cup to Italy in what would be labelled the “Game of the century”. After 5 goals were scored in extra time and the match was 4-3 in Italy’s favour. Germany finished in 3rd place. Beating Uruguay 1-0 as they were edging ever closer to the World Cup title once more.
Shortly after this Franz Beckenbauer was awarded the captaincy of the West Germany national side. Where in the 1972 European Championships, they would beat Soviet Union 3-0 in the final to claim the title. It was then time for the 1974 World Cup, a World Cup that meant more to the West Germany fans as it was being hosted in the country, and as the hosts, there was more pressure to lift the title. Being led by Beckenbauer, Germany ground to victory by defeating the hotly favoured Netherlands 2-1. The individual performance of Beckenbauer was highly commended due to how well he managed to mark legend Johan Cryuff. This achievement was made even more special after West Germany became the first side to hold the European Championship and World Cup titles simultaneously.
In 1977 Franz Beckenbauer decided to retire from international football after winning 2 European Championships & the 1974 World Cup writing his name into the footballing history books for years to come.
What Makes Franz Beckenbauer Special?
The outstanding thing was that he made things look so easy. But those close to him understood that his game was built on his strong work ethic. As previously mentioned he grew up as the son of a postal worker in the working class area of Giesing. One of Munich’s poorest and most bombed quarters after the second world war. He spent his youthful days on end just hitting a ball against a wall in his backyard. The reason he would do this he explains is because “That wall was the most honest teammate, if you played a proper pass, you’d get it back properly”. Still to this day, no one has played more proper passes than Beckenbauer in the history of football. That is what makes Beckenbauer different from the rest of the greats.
What Other Players Say About Him
“I once saw Franz Beckenbauer enter a restaurant and he did it the same way he played football: with class and authority.”
“He was a leader of men, a dominant presence who could bring the ball out with grace and skill.”
“He’s a great mate. As a player, he was marked out by intelligence rather than strength. He was more Brazilian than German as a footballer.”
So it’s fair to say that Beckenbauer has solidified his position amongst the greats after being recognised by so many for being a different class on the football pitch and leading all the teams he played into glory.
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