Franz Beckenbauer was born in Munich on 11 September 1945 and joined a youth soccer team at age 14, then went professional in just three short years.
However, Beckenbauer’s fame comes from his unique honour of being the only person to ever have won the World Cup for soccer as both a player and a manager.
Beckenbauer’s elegant playing style and the genius on the field have earned him the nicknames: "Emperor Franz" and "The Kaiser." He also made soccer history by inventing the role of the attacking sweeper. The attacking sweeper maintains the element of surprise by using powerful long runs out of central defense. Until he came along, no one believed a sweeper had any business being in his opponents' side of the field, never mind scoring.
Beckenbauer’s affair with the World Cup began in 1966 when West Germany lost to England at Wembley in the final with Beckenbauer in an unusual midfield position marking Bobby Charlton. Yet, Beckenbauer had managed to draw the attention of the world by scoring four goals. Mexico remembers that he played an obvious shoulder injury and refused to be substituted in the 4-3 semifinal defeat to Italy of 1970. Still, his team managed to win the bronze match against Uruguay in that year’s playoffs. Four year later, his last World Cup was hosted in Germany, where he and his team shone throughout the finals against Holland. After three World Cups, Beckenbauer had the complete collection of medals: gold, silver, and bronze.
When his days with the German national team were over, Beckenbauer joined the New York Cosmos in the North American pro league, along with Pele and other stars. However, before he retired, Beckenbauer returned to the Bundesliga to play for Hamburger SV and win one last title as a player in 1982. Beckenbauer tbegan coaching the German national team in 1984, leading them to the finals in 1986 and to the title in 1990 over Argentina. This last match of his career made him the first man to captain and coach a World Cup winning side. Since then, he’s served as president for Bayern Munich and as a sports commentator in the news.
Not surprisingly, Beckenbauer is considered widely to be on of the best players of all time. In 2004, the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll voted him the second best European player of the last fifty years. Now, Beckenbauer serves as chairman for the World Cup and headed Germany’s successful bid to host the games in 2006.
Interview with Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer Planet World Cup Profile
International Football Hall of Fame Stats and biography
Beckenbauer and the World Cup