May 1st, 2012 by darren
Franz Beckenbauer would feature high on most people’s list of the best footballers of all time and it is easy enough to make an argument for him being towards the very top of any such list.
Germany have long since had a knack for producing winners and achievers and Franz Beckenbauer was the first man to win the World Cup as player and manager but before we admire his career achievements, let’s take a look at how his career got started.
Beckenbauer played his first professional match in 1964 at the start of a club career at Bayern Munich that lasted until 1977. Beckenbauer got early tastes of success with a German Cup Winner’s medal and European Cup Winner’s Cup medal, both in 1967. His leadership qualities were recognised early in his career and he became club captain in 1968, leading his club to the Championship in the 1968/9 season.
Under his leadership, Bayern Munich established themselves as the best club side in Germany, winning the Bundesliga title 3 years running between 1972 and 1974. Domination of European football followed with 3 European Cup wins in a row in 1974, 75 and 76. His Bayern Munich career yielded 60 goals in 427 appearances which is a good return for a defender, albeit one who liked to make attacking forays up the field.
His club playing career continued in the North American Soccer League for New Yortk Cosmos before returning to Germany to play for Hamburg SV in 1980, helping them to win the Bundesliga title in the 1981/2 season. His club career concluded with a final season with New York Cosmos.
Beckenbauer’s international record is no less impressive and he led West Germany to a victory in the 1972 European Championships and to World Cup success 2 years later in 1974.
His personal achievements and recognition include being named FIFA World Cup Young Player of the Tournament in 1966. He won the Ballon D’Or twice, in 1972 and 1976, and was named German Footballer of the Year 4 times.
What features were there to Beckenbauer’s game and what aspects of his character made him one of the best footballers that ever lived?
Beckenbauer was an intelligent,technically excellent, yet stylish player. He is largely attributed with developing the role of “sweeper” making attacking runs foward from defensive positions. He was a commanding figure on the field with, some might say, an air of arrogance about him. He was a controlling player with the presence to dictate the run of play.
Beckenbauer’s glittering career continued into management where he guided West Germany to a World Cup Victory in 1990 and Bundesliga and UEFA Cup victories with Bayern Munich in 1994 and 1996 respectively.
No matter were you stand on who the greatest soccer player of all time is, you have to stand in awe of the achievements of Franz Beckenbauer.