top of page

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: The Legendary Career of Franz Beckenbauer

By Alex Al-Kazzaz

Famous legendary footballers all have unique careers. They all amass endless accomplishments that are unique in their respective ways. Franz Beckenbauer was one of them. Beckenbauer is one of the best footballers of his generation and of all time. Earlier this week, the two-time Ballon d'Or award recipient passed away at the age of 78.

Beckenbauer is one of only three to win the FIFA World Cup as both a player and manager. Based on his unique talent, playing ability accomplishments, etc, he earned the nickname "der Kaiser" (the Emperor). Primarily playing defender, Beckenbauer is credited as the revolutionizer of football's 'sweeper' defending position and described as the one who "made defending cool". In addition, he's the only defender to win the Ballon d'Or award twice, winning it in 1972 and 1976.

Beckenbauer earned 103 caps representing West Germany from 1965 to 1977, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup on home soil in 1974. The German captain played for Bayern Munich from 1964 to 1977, winning four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals (German Cup), and three consecutive European Cups (Now the UEFA Champions League) from 1974 to 1976. In 1977, he arrived in the United States to play for the New York Cosmos, winning the North American Soccer League title that same year as well as in 1978 and 1980. In his first season with Cosmos, Beckenbauer played alongside Brazilian legend Pelé. After a two-year stint (1980-82) with German club Hamburg SV and a brief second stint with Cosmos in 1983, Beckenbauer retired as a player.

In 1984, Beckenbauer was appointed manager of the West German national football team, leading Die Mannschaft to the final of the 1986 World Cup, losing to Argentina. Four years later, he would lead the team to a world title triumph in a final rematch against Argentina, just before the German reunification took place. Soon after, he managed French club Olympique de Marseille for a year, winning the French Division 1 title and finishing as the runner-up in the 1990-91 European Cup. From 1993- 94 and in 1996, Beckenbauer managed Bayern Munich, winning one Bundesliga title in 1994 and a UEFA Super Cup in 1996.

Beckenbauer is an inductee of Germany's Sports Hall of Fame as well as the US National Soccer Hall of Fame. Throughout his career as both a player and manager, Beckenbauer's leadership has played a pivotal role in his success. His playing skills told one story and his eloquence told another. The style of football that is utilized today is far different from what the world saw in Beckenbauer's playing and managing days, but he played a major role in helping football become what it is today.

It's fair to say that Beckenbauer is a heroic legend in more than football. His legacy has its mark in the entire world of sports.


bottom of page