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German Football player turned manager Franz Beckenbauer, the legend of the game, died at his family home aged 78, his family confirmed.
Beckenbauer popularly known as ‘Der Kaiser’, has won the Ballon d’Or twice while he also clinched the World Cup title twice — as the captain of West Germany in 1974 and again as a manager in 1990 — becoming one of the only three people to win the mega tournament as both a player and a manager.
In addition, he also won the European championship in 1972.
Beckenbauer’s family, in a statement to the German news agency DPA, said, “It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, surrounded by his family”, reported BBC.
Germany’s most successful football club, Bayern said, “The world of FC Bayern is no longer what it used to be — suddenly darker, quieter, poorer, Bayern would never have become the club it is today.”
In a tribute by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on their official X account, the governing body wrote, “‘Der Kaiser’ was an extraordinary player, successful coach, and popular pundit who shaped German football like no other.”
Beckenbauer played for the West Germany team 103 times, won four league titles, and was captain for the German giants Bayern Munich and steered the club to three European Cup wins in 1974, 1975, and 1976. He also won the Bundesliga with Hamburg in 1982.
After leaving Bayern, Beckenbauer played for the New York Cosmos, where he and Brazilian great Pele played a major role in expanding the North American Soccer League.
He retired in 1983 and less than a year later, with no managerial experience, was named West Germany manager.
The football world mourns his death with Gianni Infantino, president of world football’s governing body International Federation of Association Football (Fifa), calling Beckenbauer “a legend of German and world football”.