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Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer is without doubt one of the greatest players and managers of all time. He redefined the role of 'libero', lifted the FIFA World Cup as captain in 1974, before repeating the feat as a manager in 1990.
Born in Munich on 11 September, 1945, the son of a General Manager of a postal depot, he began his career at the age of 9, in the youth team of SC München 06, before joining FC Bayern Munich in 1958.
He made his debut for Bayern on the left wing, against FC St. Pauli, on 6 June 1964. In only his first season in the regional league, 1964/65, he won promotion to the Bundesliga.
Franz celebrated his first international cap on 26 September 1965 at the tender age of 20, and went on to play in three FIFA World Cups. The young Beckenbauer made his first finals appearance in 1966, scoring 2 goals in a 5-0 victory over Switzerland in his first game. Although Germany lost in that legendary Final to hosts England at Wembley, more than 30 years later, Beckenbauer can reflect positively on events: "Being a runner-up in the FIFA World Cup isn't too bad for a young player", Beckenbauer told
His second tournament in Mexico 1970 was also memorable as he played in the semi-final against Italy with a dislocated shoulder, carrying his injured arm in a sling. However, his dedication went unrewarded, as Italy won the match 4:3, and the Germans had to settle for third place.
Nevertheless, Beckenbauer still has fond memories of Mexico: "1970 was a magnificent tournament. The fans were fanatical and stadium security wasn't quite so intense in those days. You could still do pretty much what you wanted to. There was just one armed policeman who sat outside the entrance and watched the whole ground. Obviously, that would be unthinkable today. Back then, it was simply more relaxed. The games in Mexico were colourful. The country laughed and football danced".
Then in 1974 came his finest hour. By now, Beckenbauer was playing in the position he revolutionised - as libero behind the defence. He organised the team from the back but also came forward when his side attacked. It was in his nature to go forward, he simply couldn't stop himself.
The 1974 FIFA World Cup in Germany was something extra-special for Beckenbauer and his team. From the first whistle, the home fans expected nothing less than victory. The high expectations were something the captain was all too aware of, "when you are hosts, there is obviously twice the pressure, because everybody expects you to win".
Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Wolfgang Overath and the rest of the team withstood the pressure to make Germany winners for the second time. After the 2-1 victory over The Netherlands, Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the brand new FIFA World Cup trophy after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet cup in 1970.
In 1977, Beckenbauer left Bayern Munich to join the New York Cosmos. By the time he left Munich he had won every major honour with "his" Bayern (hat-trick of European Cups, four Championships, four German Cup medals). He hoped to find a new challenge in America's professional league, as well as earn a good living. From a sporting point of view, however, the switch to America did not further his development: "Football-wise it was a non starter" he said.
The move across the Atlantic also brought an end to his international career. Since he was plying his trade abroad, he was no longer considered for selection by the German Football Association. He made 103 appearances for his country, becoming the first ever German player to break through the "magical" 100 cap barrier.
In 1982, he made his comeback in the Bundesliga at 35, playing for one season with Hamburg. He retired from playing in 1983 after another spell with the Cosmos in New York.
In July 1984, after the failure of Jupp Derwall at that year's European Championships, Beckenbauer was installed as national manager.
His first major success as manager was at Mexico 1986, where he led his team to the Final. Although Argentina won the trophy, Beckenbauer had come of age as a manager.
At Italia 1990, Germany became undefeated World Champions, and when Andreas Brehme converted his penalty in the Final against Argentina, Beckenbauer secured his place in German football history for all eternity. He became the first man to win the FIFA World Cup as captain and as manager.
Winning the trophy as a manager remains the pinnacle of Franz Beckenbauer's football career: "I would say 1990 in Italy was the most important to me, it doesn't come any better than managing a side to victory," he has been quoted as saying.
Beckenbauer was President of FC Bayern Munich until 1998, when he was made Vice-President of the German Football Association. It was under his reign that the successful campaign to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup was launched.
Since Germany's bid to host its second finals tournament was accepted, he has taken an active role in the planning and staging of 2006 FIFA World Cup as Chairman of the organising committee.

Playing career

1954 - 1958: SC München 06
1958 - 1977: FC Bayern Munich
1977 - 1980: New York Cosmos
1980 - 1982: Hamburg SV
1983: Cosmos New York

Club honours
424 Bundesliga appearances (44 goals)
78 European Cup appearances (6 goals)
1976 World Club Championship winner
1974 - 1976 European Champions Cup winner
1967 European Cup Winners Cup winner
1969, 1972-1974, 1982 German Championship winner
1970, 1971, 1981 German Championship runner-up
1966, 1967, 1969, 1971 German Cup winner
1977, 1978, 1980 US Championship winner

International honours
103 caps (14 goals), 50 as captain
1974 FIFA World Cup winner
1966 FIFA World Cup runner-up
1970 FIFA World Cup third place
1972 European Championships winner
1976 European Championships runner-up

Managerial career
Internationals in charge as manager: 66 games (34 wins/ 19 draws / 13 defeats)
1990 FIFA World Cup winner
1986 FIFA World Cup runner-up
1988 European Championship semi-finals
1994 German Championship winner
1996 German Championship runner-up
1996 UEFA Cup winner