German football has produced some outstanding footballers throughout the years, but at the very top is Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer.
Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, Beckenbauer became one of the greatest defenders of all time during a lengthy career at the top level of the game, winning the World Cup and European Championship with Germany – in addition to huge success at club level with Bayern.
Often credited with reinventing the role of the modern sweeper or libero, Beckenbauer started as a midfielder before excelling in a deeper role, where his passing, reading of the game and ability to step forward confidently saw him emerge as one of the world’s best.
Winner of four league titles and three consecutive European Cups with Bayern, Beckenbauer became the first defender to win the Ballon d’Or, scooping football’s greatest individual accolade in both 1972 and 1976.
One of the finest footballers of his – or any – generation, here are Franz Beckenbauer’s best bits for Bayern Munich.
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Author: Harry Diamond