Franz Beckenbauer has passed away “peacefully in his sleep”, aged 78, with the German football legend’s family confirming his passing on Monday afternoon.
A family statement read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family.
“We ask that you be able to grieve in silence and refrain from asking any questions.”
Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, Beckenbauer lifted the World Cup as captain of West Germany in 1974 before leading the nation to the same glory as manager in 1990 – making him one of just three people to have ever achieved that feat. Mario Zagallo and Didier Deschamps are the other two.
One of the greatest players ever, Beckenbauer is the only defender in history to win the Ballon d’Or twice.
He spent the first 14 years of his career with Bayern Munich, where he later became club president, before finishing his career with two stints at New York Cosmos sandwiched between a couple of seasons with Hamburg. Beckenbauer then went onto manage West Germany, Marseille and Bayern Munich on two occasions.
In total, the German legend won five Bundesliga titles overall as a player and manager, three European Cups and countless other honours.
Tributes have began pouring in for Beckenbauer, with Gary Lineker and paying his respects on social media:
“Very sorry to hear that Franz Beckenbauer has died,” Lineker said. “One of the absolute greats of our game. Der Kaiser was the most beautiful of footballers who won it all with grace and charm. RIP.”
The Premier League said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Franz Beckenbauer, one of football’s greatest ever players.
“A World Cup winner as both player and manager, ‘Der Kaiser’ was as elegant as he was dominant. He will forever be remembered.”
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