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Franz Beckenbauer Biography

Joined Bayern As A Teen, First World Cup Final, On Top Of The World, Across The Atlantic

1945-

German soccer player

Franz Beckenbauer is the only person who has won soccer's World Cup as team captain and as coach. Beckenbauer captained the former West Germany to the championship in 1974, and coached it to the top in 1990. Beckenbauer, who also played for the New York Cosmos when soccer interest in the United States began to rise in the mid-to-late seventies, is now president of one of Europe's top teams, Bayern Munich, after a successful stretch for that team as player, coach and general manager. He is also president of the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup to be hosted in Germany.

Beckenbauer, credited with popularizing the "sweeper" defensive position and using it as a mode of counterattack, was also captain of the former West Germany's national team when it won the European Championship, and led Bayern Munich to three successive European Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup. But there was an air about Beckenbauer that transcended championships. "Every movement he made on the pitch bristled with elegance," the International Football Hall of Fame wrote of Beckenbauer. "There was an arrogance in his

Franz Beckenbauer

play that suggested he was always in command-'Emperor Franz' and 'The Kaiser," they called him. But more than that, he was a great thinker about the game and brought about a revolution in the way it is played by inventing the role of the attacking sweeper." Keir Radnedge wrote in The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Soccer. "He was the puppet master, standing back and pulling the strings which earned West Germany and Bayern Munich every major prize," he explains further.

Sketch by Paul Burton

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Famous Sports StarsSoccer