Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a German football executive and former professional footballer. During his illustrious career as one of the world’s best players, he helped Germany win nearly every major international prize. He began as a left-winger, but in his early years at Bayern Munich, he invented the position of “attacking sweeper,” which altered the way Germany and Bayern Munich played. From 1974 to 1976, Beckenbauer captained Bayern Munich to three successive crowns and three European Cup victories.
As a captain and inspiration when West Germany won the World Cup in front of their own people in 1974, and he was the manager when a unified Germany won the World Cup in Italy after defeating Diego Maradona’s Argentina. Anton Beckenbauer was also named European Player of the Year twice during his career, and following his management tenure, he served as one of the senior officials on Bayern Munich’s advisory board, overseeing one of the club’s most successful periods in its history. He was instrumental in getting the World Cup to Germany in 2006.
Childhood and adolescence
Franz Anton Beckenbauer was born in Munich, Germany on September 11, 1945, to Franz Beckenbauer Senior and Antonia Beckenbauer. His father worked in the post office and discouraged him from playing football, most likely due to the country’s economic situation following WWII.
He had been a keen footballer since he was a child, and in 1954, when he was only nine years old, he began playing for SC Munich. During those years, he played for their youth squad and excelled as a forward.
He was determined to join Munich, the team he had loved since childhood, but after a brawl with a club player in a youth level game, he felt he couldn’t and entered the youth ranks at Bayern Munich in 1959.
After a few seasons with the junior squad, Franz Beckenbauer made his senior team debut for Bayern Munich in 1964, and the team advanced from the second division to the first division, known as the “Bundesliga”, at the end of that season. Two years later, he represented West Germany at the World Cup in England, where he lit up the competition with four goals as his team finished second.
Following his superb performance as a left-winger, Beckenbauer began playing the role of an offensive sweeper, which became a one-of-a-kind role that he employed to devastating effect throughout his career. In 1968, he was named captain of Bayern Munich, and the club went on to win the league title at the end of the season.
As captain of Bayern Munich, he led the team to unprecedented success. From 1972 to 1974, he guided the club to three consecutive league crowns, as well as three consecutive European Cup victories. After scoring 64 goals in 439 games for Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer became known as “Der Kaiser” or “the Emperor.”
In the 1970 World Cup, he scored the game-winning goal against England in the second round to launch an unlikely comeback, but West Germany was eliminated in the semi-finals. Two years later, he led West Germany to victory in the European Championships.
In 1974, he led West Germany to its second World Cup title, defeating the Netherlands in the final in Munich. He created the plan of continually shadowing Johann Cryuff of the Netherlands, and it paid off in the big game.
Two years later, he guided Germany to a runner-up place in the European Championships, and he resigned from international football the following year. In 103 West German outings, Beckenbauer had 14 goals.
In 1977, he left Bayern Munich for the New York Cosmos, and after four seasons with them, he returned to Germany with Hamburger SV. He played for Hamburger SV for two seasons before retiring after winning the league in his last season.
He was appointed manager of West Germany in 1984, and two years later he led the team to the World Cup final, where they were barely defeated by Argentina in Mexico. However, four years later, he led the unified German team to victory in the World Cup in Italy, defeating Argentina 1-0 in the final.
He holds the unique distinction of having won the World Cup for his country as both a player and a manager. After winning the World Cup, Beckenbauer managed the French team Olympique de Marseille for a few months.
In 1993, he was chosen as an interim manager by Bayern Munich, and he led them to the league title at the end of the season. Three years later, the club hired him as a stop-gap alternative once more, and he led them to the UEFA Cup.
He joined Bayern Munich as a vice president in 1994 and has served as the club’s head of the advisory board ever since the club became a corporation. Four years later, he was appointed vice president of the German Football Association, where he assisted the country in its bid to host the World Cup.
Achievements and Awards:
Franz was named “European Player of the Year” in 1972 and again four years later.
Beckenbauer was named to World Soccer magazine’s “Greatest XI of All Time” in 2013.
His greatest achievement as a footballer was captaining West Germany to victory in the 1974 World Cup on home soil. The 1990 World Cup was his greatest achievement in life, though. He led the German national team to victory.
Personal History and Legacy
Franz Beckenbauer married Brigitte in 1966, but the marriage was annulled 24 years later. Michael and Stephen were their two sons. Stephen became a footballer but died as a result of an illness.
Beckenbauer married Sybille in 1990, but the marriage was terminated 14 years later. They had a son who was named Thomas.
Franz Beckenbauer married Heidi Burmester in 2006. Francesca and Noel are their two children.