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Germany legend Beckenbauer dies aged 78
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Cian Cheesbrough
Franz Beckenbauer has died at the age of 78
Franz Beckenbauer has died at the age of 78

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer has died at the age of 78.

Beckenbauer is regarded as one of the greatest to grace the sport, winning the World Cup as both a player and manager.

The former captain also lifted the European Championship during his playing days with West Germany in 1972, winning the Ballon d'Or for his exploits that year and again in 1976.

A statement from his family to German news agency DPA said: "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."

A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer is often credited as inventing the sweeper defensive role — now referred to as a 'Libero'.

He won four Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich along with three consecutive European Cups between 1974 and 1976 after coming through their ranks as a youngster.

Having spent six years in charge of the national team after hanging up his boots, the Munich-born legend went on to lift the Bundesliga as Bayern boss in 1993-94 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.

Lothar Matthaus, Beckenbauer's World Cup-winning captain in 1990, told Bild: "The shock is deep, even though I knew that Franz wasn't feeling well. 

"His death is a loss for football and for Germany as a whole. 

Franz Beckenbauer led Germany to World Cup glory in 1974
Franz Beckenbauer led Germany to World Cup glory in 1974

"He was one of the greatest as a player and coach but also off the field. Franz was an outstanding personality — not only in football — and he enjoyed worldwide recognition. 

"Everyone who knew him knows what a great and generous person Franz was. A good friend has left us. I will miss him — we will all miss him."


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