Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Anton Beckenbauer (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁants ˈbɛkn̩ˌbaʊɐ], audio ; born 11 September 1945) is a German former professional footballer and manager. In his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser ("The Emperor") because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field, and also as his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.[1][2] A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper (libero).[3]

Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer in April 2019
Personal information
Full name Franz Anton Beckenbauer
Date of birth (1945-09-11) 11 September 1945
Place of birth Munich, Germany
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
1951–1959 SC München von 1906
1959–1964 Bayern Munich
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1964–1977 Bayern Munich 427 (60)
1977–1980 New York Cosmos 80 (17)
1980–1982 Hamburger SV 28 (0)
1983 New York Cosmos 25 (2)
Total 560 (79)
National team
1964 West Germany Youth 3 (3)
1965 West Germany B 2 (0)
1965–1977 West Germany 103 (14)
Teams managed
1984–1990 West Germany
1990–1991 Marseille
1993–1994 Bayern Munich
1996 Bayern Munich
Representing  West Germany
FIFA World Cup
European Championship
Representing  West Germany (as manager)
FIFA World Cup
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Twice named European Footballer of the Year, Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three FIFA World Cups and two European Championships. He is one of three men, along with Brazil's Mário Zagallo and France's Didier Deschamps to have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager; he lifted the World Cup trophy as captain in 1974, and repeated the feat as a manager in 1990.[4] He was the first captain to lift the World Cup and European Championship at international level and the European Cup at club level. He was named in the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, the Ballon d'Or Dream Team in 2020, and in 2004 was listed in the FIFA 100 of the world's greatest living players.[5][6]

At club level with Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1967 and three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976. The latter feat made him the first player to win three European Cups as captain of his club. He became team manager and later president of Bayern Munich. After two spells with the New York Cosmos he was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Beckenbauer led Germany's successful bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup and chaired the organizing committee. He worked as a pundit for Sky Germany, and for 34 years as a columnist for the tabloid Bild, both until 2016.[7]

In August 2016, it was announced Beckenbauer was being investigated for fraud and money laundering as part of the 2006 World Cup.[8]

Early years

Franz Beckenbauer was born in the post-war ruins of Munich, the second son of postal-worker Franz Beckenbauer, Sr. and his wife Antonie (née Hupfauf). 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.[9]

Originally a centre forward, he idolised 1954 FIFA World Cup winner Fritz Walter and supported local side 1860 Munich, then the pre-eminent team in the city, despite their relegation from the top league, the Oberliga Süd, in the 1950s. "It was always my dream to play for them" he would later confirm.[9] That he joined the Bayern Munich youth team in 1959, rather than that of his favourites 1860 Munich, was the result of a contentious Under-14 youth tournament in nearby Neubiberg. Beckenbauer and his teammates were aware that their SC Munich '06 club lacked the finance to continue running its youth sides, and had determined to join 1860 Munich as a group upon the tournament's conclusion. However, fortune decreed that SC Munich and 1860 would meet in the final and a series of niggles during the match eventually resulted in a physical confrontation between Beckenbauer and the opposing centre-half. The ill-feeling this engendered had a strong effect upon Beckenbauer and his teammates, who decided to join Bayern's youth side rather than the team they had recently come to blows with.[10]

In 1963, at the age of 18, Beckenbauer was engulfed by controversy when it was revealed that his then girlfriend was pregnant and that he had no intention of marrying her; he was banned from the West German national youth team by the DFB and only readmitted after the intervention of the side's coach Dettmar Cramer.[11]

Club career

Beckenbauer (left) after Bayern Munich's Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 1967

Beckenbauer made his debut with Bayern in a Bundesliga promotion play-off match on the left wing against FC St. Pauli on 6 June 1964. In his first season in the Regionalliga Süd ("Regional League South", then the second level in Germany), 1964–65, the team won the league and eventually promoted to the Bundesliga.

Bayern soon became a force in the new German league, winning the German Cup in 1966–67 and achieving European success in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer became team captain for the 1968–69 season and led his club to their first league title. He began experimenting with the sweeper (libero) role around this time, refining the role into a new form and becoming perhaps the greatest exponent of the attacking sweeper game.[1]

During Beckenbauer's tenure at Bayern Munich, the club won three league championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 and also a hat-trick of European Cup wins (1974–76) which earned the club the honour of keeping the trophy permanently.

Beckenbauer with Diego Maradona during a New York Cosmos friendly in Argentina, November 1978

Since 1968 Beckenbauer, has been called Der Kaiser by fans and the media.[1] The following anecdote is told (even by Beckenbauer himself) to explain the origin: On the occasion of 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 (football-emperor) afterwards, soon after he was just called Der Kaiser. However, according to a report in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, this explanation is untrue, though very popular. According to the report, Beckenbauer fouled his opposite number, Reinhard Libuda from Schalke 04, in the cup final on 14 June 1969. Disregarding the fans' hooting, Beckenbauer took the ball into the opposite part of the field, where he balanced the ball in front of the upset fans for half a minute. Libuda was commonly called König von Westfalen (king of Westphalia), so the press looked for an even more exalted moniker and invented Der Kaiser.[12]

In 1977, Beckenbauer accepted a lucrative contract to play in the North American Soccer League with the New York Cosmos. He played with the Cosmos for four seasons up to 1980, and the team won the Soccer Bowl on three occasions (1977, 1978, 1980).[1]

Beckenbauer retired after a two-year spell with Hamburger SV in Germany (1980–82) with the win of the Bundesliga title that year and one final season with the New York Cosmos in 1983. In his career, he appeared in 754 competitive club matches.

International career

Beckenbauer won 103 caps and scored 14 goals for West Germany.[1] He was a member of the World Cup squads that finished runners-up in 1966, third place in 1970, and champions in 1974, while also being named to the tournament all-star team in all three editions. He also won the 1972 European Football Championship and finished as runners-up in the 1976 edition. Beckenbauer's first game for the national team came on 26 September 1965.[1]

1966 World Cup

"The message he [Beckenbauer] sent out was: 'Don't even try it. Coming out to face me is a waste of your time.'

—England 1966 World Cup legend Bobby Charlton.[13]

Beckenbauer appeared in his first World Cup in 1966, playing every match. In his first World Cup match, against Switzerland, he scored twice in a 5–0 win.[14] West Germany won their group, and then beat Uruguay 4–0 in quarter-finals, with Beckenbauer scoring the second goal in the 70th minute.[14]

In the semi-finals, the Germans faced the USSR. Helmut Haller opened the scoring, with Beckenbauer contributing the second of the match, his fourth goal of the tournament.[14] The Soviets scored a late goal but were unable to draw level, and West Germany advanced to the final against hosts England. The English won the final and the Jules Rimet Trophy in extra time.[1] The Germans had fallen at the final hurdle, but Beckenbauer had a notable tournament, finishing tied for third on the list of top scorers—from a non-attacking position. The team returned to a heroes' welcome in their homeland.

Beckenbauer captaining West Germany against East Germany at the 1974 FIFA World Cup

1970 World Cup

West Germany won their first three matches before facing England in the second round in a rematch of the 1966 final. The English were ahead 2–0 in the second half, but a spectacular goal by Beckenbauer in the 69th minute helped the Germans recover and equalise before the end of normal time and win the match in extra time.[14] West Germany advanced to the semi-finals to face Italy, in what would be known as the Game of the Century. He dislocated his shoulder after being fouled, but he was not deterred from continuing in the match, as his side had already used their two permitted substitutions.[1] He stayed on the field carrying his dislocated arm in a sling. The result of this match was 4–3 (after extra time) in favour of the Italians. Germany defeated Uruguay 1–0 for third place.[1]

1972 European championship

Beckenbauer became captain of the national side in 1971. In 1972, West Germany won the European Championship, beating the Soviet Union 3–0 in the final.

1974 World Cup

The 1974 World Cup was hosted by West Germany and Beckenbauer led his side to victory, including a hard-fought 2–1 win over the hotly favoured Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruyff. Beckenbauer and fellow defenders man-marked Cruyff so well that the Dutch were never quite able to put their "Total Football" into full use.[1]

Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the new FIFA World Cup Trophy after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1970.[1] This also gave West Germany the distinction of being the first European national team to hold both the European Championship and World Cup titles simultaneously (two other countries have done it since: France in 2000, and Spain in 2010).

1976 European Championship

In the 1976 competition, West Germany again reached the final, where they lost on penalties to Czechoslovakia. Beckenbauer was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Beckenbauer retired from international football in 1977, at the age of 31, following his move to New York Cosmos.[15]

Managerial career

Beckenbauer receiving the Sports Bambi Award at the Leipzig Opera, Augustusplatz in 1990

On his return to Germany, Beckenbauer was appointed manager of the West German national team to replace Jupp Derwall. He took the team all the way to the final of the 1986 World Cup, where they lost to the Diego Maradona inspired Argentina.[1]

In 1990, before the German reunification, Beckenbauer managed the last German team without East German players in a World Cup, winning the final 1–0, against Argentina, in a rematch of the previous World Cup final. Beckenbauer is one of three men (with Mario Zagallo, and Didier Deschamps) to have won the Cup as player and as manager, and he is the first man and one of only two (with Didier Deschamps) to have won the title as team captain as well as manager.[1]

Beckenbauer then moved into club management, and accepted a job with Olympique de Marseille in 1990 but left the club within one year. Marseille eventually won the 1990–91 French championship and ended runner-up of the 1990–91 European Cup.

From 28 December 1993 until 30 June 1994, and then from 29 April 1996 until 30 June of the same year, he managed Bayern Munich. His brief spells in charge saw him collect two further honours – the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.[16][17]

In 1994, he took on the role of club president at Bayern, and much of the success in the following years has been credited to his astute management. Following the club's decision to change from an association to a limited company, he has been chairman of the advisory board since the beginning of 2002. He stepped down as president of Bayern in 2009, being succeeded by long-time general manager Uli Hoeneß.

In 1998, he became vice-president of the German Football Association.[1] At the end of the 1990s, Beckenbauer headed the successful bid by Germany to organize the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[1] He chaired the organizational committee for the World Cup and was a commentator for the Bild-Zeitung.

FIFA inquiries and ban

Beckenbauer (second from left) in 2007

In June 2014, Beckenbauer was banned by FIFA Ethics Committee for 90 days from any football-related activity for allegedly refusing to cooperate with an inquiry into corruption dealing with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.[18] He protested the ban, as he had requested the questions that were put to him be in German and in writing. The ban was lifted after Beckenbauer agreed to participate in FIFA's inquiry.[19] In February 2016, Beckenbauer was fined CHF 7,000 and warned by FIFA Ethics Committee for failing to cooperate with the inquiry in 2014.[20]

In March 2016, the Ethics Committee opened formal proceedings against Beckenbauer regarding the awarding of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[21]

In October 2019, Black Mirror Leaks published email correspondence of Russian member of Parliament, Sergey Kapkov, where Beckenbauer and his adviser, Fedor Radmann, were named as recipients of €3 million for their votes in favour of Russia as host of the 2018 World Cup. Both allegedly received an additional €1.5 million in success fees after the 2018 cup was allocated to Russia.[22]


"Franz Beckenbauer symbolises football and a winning mentality. On top of that, he brought the World Cup to his own country. We're proud of him."

—German tennis player Boris Becker.[13]

"He's the hero of our nation. It hasn't happened by chance, he's earned it by hard work."

—West Germany team-mate Günter Netzer.[13]

Beckenbauer is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in the history of football.[1][2] He is the only defender in football history to win the Ballon d'Or twice.[23] He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper or libero, a defensive player who intervenes proactively in the offensive game of his team.[3] Named European Footballer of the Year twice, Beckenbauer was chosen on the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, and the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002.[6][24]

An icon in Germany, and one of only three men to have won the World Cup both as a player and as a manager, Beckenbauer was lauded by former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder for winning the World Cup as a player in 1974, winning as manager in 1990, and for playing a leading role in Germany's success of achieving host status of the 2006 World Cup.[13]


During his playing career, Beckenbauer's popularity was such that he was included as a character in Monty Python's sketch "The Philosophers' Football Match" as the sole genuine player and a "surprise inclusion" to the German team. During the match, between famous Greek and German philosophers, instead of actually playing football, the "players" walk in circles contemplating philosophy, and "asking questions", a popular phrase of English football commentators, much to the confusion of Beckenbauer.[25]

In a 2013 advertisement for South Korean company Samsung, Beckenbauer appeared as the manager of a Galaxy XI of football players from around the globe, and hands the captain's armband to Lionel Messi.[26] Beckenbauer features in EA Sports' FIFA video game series; he was included in the FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Legends.[27]

Personal life

A Cosmos jersey worn in 1977

Beckenbauer has been married three times and has five children, one of whom, Stephan, was a professional footballer,[28][29] who died after a long illness on 31 July 2015, at the age of 46.[30] After appearing in an ad for a big mobile phone company, Beckenbauer specifically requested the number 0176 / 666666 for his mobile phone. However, he soon was flooded with phone calls by men who thought it was a phone sex number (in German, "6" translates to "sechs", sounding similar to the word sex).[31]

In 2016 and 2017, Beckenbauer had cardiac surgery twice. According to German media reports, he had an artificial hip inserted in a Munich clinic on 1 March 2018. It was already the third operation in two years.[32]

Career statistics


Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Bayern Munich1963–64Regionalliga Süd006[lower-alpha 1]262
1964–65Regionalliga Süd31168[lower-alpha 2]23918
1972–73Bundesliga34660615[lower-alpha 3]0517
1975–76Bundesliga34572902[lower-alpha 4]0527
1976–77Bundesliga33340614[lower-alpha 5]0474
New York Cosmos1977NASL1546[lower-alpha 6]1215
1978NASL2786[lower-alpha 6]23310
1979NASL1216[lower-alpha 6]0181
1980NASL2647[lower-alpha 6]1335
Hamburger SV1980–81Bundesliga1802000200
New York Cosmos1983NASL2522[lower-alpha 6]0272
NY Cosmos total1051927413223
Career total5607966576652875498
  1. Appearances in Bundesliga promotion play-offs
  2. 6 appearances (1 goal) in Bundesliga promotion play-offs, 2 appearances (1 goal) in Southern German Cup
  3. Appearances in DFB-Ligapokal
  4. Appearances in UEFA Super Cup
  5. Appearances in UEFA Super Cup and in Intercontinental Cup
  6. Appearances in NASL play-offs

National team statistics

Franz Beckenbauer at

Germany national team

International goals

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:
1.23 March 1966Rotterdam, Netherlands Netherlands3–14–2Friendly
2.23 March 1966Rotterdam, Netherlands Netherlands4–24–2Friendly
3.4 May 1966Dublin, Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland2–04–0Friendly
4.12 July 1966Sheffield, England  Switzerland3–05–0FIFA World Cup 1966
5.12 July 1966Sheffield, England  Switzerland4–05–0FIFA World Cup 1966
6.23 July 1966Sheffield, England Uruguay2–04–0FIFA World Cup 1966
7.25 July 1966Liverpool, England Soviet Union2–02–1FIFA World Cup 1966
8.1 June 1968Hanover, Germany England1–01–0Friendly
9.14 June 1970León, Mexico England1–23–2 (a.e.t.)FIFA World Cup 1970
10.22 November 1970Athens, Greece Greece3–13–1Friendly
11.22 June 1971Oslo, Norway Norway3–07–1Friendly
12.30 June 1971Copenhagen, Denmark Denmark3–13–1Friendly
13.12 May 1973Hamburg, Germany Bulgaria1–03–0Friendly
14.6 October 1976Cardiff, Wales Wales1–02–0Friendly

Managing statistics

As of 22 January 2014
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % Ref.
West Germany 1984[33] 1990[33] 66 34 20 12 051.52 [33]
Olympique Marseille 1 September 1990[34] 31 December 1990[34] 25 16 4 5 064.00 [35]
Bayern Munich 28 December 1993[36] 30 June 1994[36] 14 9 2 3 064.29 [36]
Bayern Munich 28 April 1996[36] 30 June 1996[36] 5 3 0 2 060.00 [36]
Total 110 62 26 22 056.36



Bayern Munich[37]

Hamburger SV[37]

New York Cosmos

West Germany[38]


West Germany[37]


Bayern Munich[37]




  • European Coach of the Year—Sepp Herberger Award: 1990
  • World Soccer Awards Manager of the Year: 1990
  • World Soccer 29th Greatest Manager of All Time: 2013[63][64]


  • Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany: 1976
  • Bavarian Order of Merit: 1982
  • Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany: 1986
  • Honorary Golden Coin of the City of Munich: 1995
  • Honorary Doctor of the National Sports Academy: 2004
  • Commanders' Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany: 2006
  • Lower Saxon Merit 1st Class: 2008
  • Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: 2009
  • Honorary consul of the Republic of Kosovo: 2011[65]

See also

  • List of UEFA Cup winning managers


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  • Hesse-Lichtenberger, Ulrich (2002). Tor! The Story of German Football. London: WSC Books. ISBN 0-9540134-3-3.


  • Beckenbauer, Franz, Cramer, Dettmar: Nicht nur ein Spiel!. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2006, ISBN 3-498-00640-1.
  • Körner, Torsten: Franz Beckenbauer – der freie Mann. Scherz, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 3-502-18391-0.
  • Kratzert, Armin: Beckenbauer taucht nicht auf. Roman. Kirchheim Verlag, München 2012, ISBN 978-3-87410-119-6
  • Kummermehr, Petra (Hrsg.): Das Buch Franz. Botschaften eines Kaisers. Diederichs, München 2011, ISBN 978-3-424-35063-0.
World Cup-winners status
Mário Zagallo
Player and Manager
1974, '90
Didier Deschamps
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