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Germany great Beckenbauer passes away

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Franz Beckenbauer, one of Germany's greatest ever players, has died at the age of 78.

Franz Beckenbauer remembered

Franz Beckenbauer, the player who shaped German football like no other, has passed away. "Der Kaiser", as he was affectionately known around the world of football, died aged 78 on Sunday.

An extraordinary player, successful coach, popular pundit, influential official, charity host – Beckenbauer will be remembered for all of the above and so much more. During his playing career, Beckenbauer won the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship with West Germany as well as three European Cups, the European Cup Winners' Cup, five Bundesliga titles and four German Cups. As coach, he led West Germany to the 1990 World Cup and celebrated winning the UEFA Cup in 1996 with the club that will be forever linked with his name, FC Bayern München.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin:

"The football world mourns the loss of the legendary Kaiser. His unparalleled versatility, graceful transitions between defence and midfield, impeccable ball control, and visionary style reshaped the way football was played in his era. His leadership qualities shone through as he captained both the national team and Bayern München during their most successful periods and continued to shine bright in his coaching career. Beckenbauer's legacy as one of football's all-time greats is beyond dispute. Farewell to a true legend."

Beckenbauer was born in Munich in 1945 and started playing football for his local club SC 1906 München at an early age. Bigger clubs started noticing his remarkable talent and when he was 12, he was set to join TSV 1860 München before changing his mind and choosing Bayern instead. This story became legendary as Bayern's ascent to become a European superpower coincided with Beckenbauer establishing himself as one of the best footballers in the world.

He read the game like few players before him, had a great touch – he became famous for his outside-of-the-boot passes – and was calm under pressure. Originally a midfielder with an eye for goal and creating chances, Beckenbauer would go on to define the 'libero' position as a deep-lying sweeper who could at any time make an impact further up the pitch.

Musiala on 'legend' Beckenbauer

During a remarkably successful period in the early-to-mid 1970s, Beckenbauer first led West Germany to triumph at the 1972 European Championship, subsequently winning the Ballon d'Or. Still believed to be Germany's best national team of all time, a triumph at the World Cup on home soil followed two years later. That was also the year when Beckenbauer, who had won the Cup Winners' Cup with Bayern in 1967, celebrated the first of three successive European Cups with the Munich giants, claiming a second Ballon d'Or in 1976.

Beckenbauer leads West Germany to 1972 glory

He then embarked on his first spell to the United States and New York Cosmos, with whom he won the national championship three times in a row before returning to Germany and Hamburger SV. He added another Bundesliga title there and ended his playing days in 1983 during another short spell in New York, retiring as West Germany's most capped player having made 103 international appearances.

Beckenbauer was quickly back in the spotlight. In 1984, he became head coach of West Germany and came close to World Cup glory in 1986, leading his side to the final where they fought back from two goals down against Argentina only to eventually lose 3-2. Four years later, West Germany won the final rematch 1-0 and Beckenbauer stepped down as a world champion.

After a short spell in charge of Olympique de Marseille, Beckenbauer returned to Bayern as vice-president in 1991, taking over as caretaker coach in 1993 and promptly winning another Bundesliga title. In 1996, Beckenbauer again stepped into the vacant coaching position mid-season and guided the club to victory in the UEFA Cup. He then turned his attention to being a football administrator, serving as Bayern president for 15 years and leading Germany's successful bid to host the World Cup in 2006.

Among his countless personal accomplishments, he was named Germany's Footballer of the Century in 2000, his country's footballer of the year four times, won the FIFA Presidential Award in 2012 and the UEFA President's Award the following year, and also collected a number of honours for his social and charitable work.

Bayern's hat-trick of European Cup wins 1974–76