'Kaiser' Beckenbauer, German Football Icon, Dies at 78
After winning 103 caps and scoring 14 goals, Franz Beckenbauer retired from international football in 1977 at the age of 31, before calling time on his club career at New York Cosmos in 1983.
MUNICH, Germany- Franz Beckenbauer, the legendary German footballer who won the World Cup as both a player and coach, has died at the age of 78, the German Football Association confirmed Monday, writes Winston Mwale.
Beckenbauer was a "a legend of German and world football," according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
"The first captain to raise the current FIFA World Cup trophy in 1974, he would also win the tournament as Germany coach in 1990, and his passing is a painful loss for both German and world football," Infantino said.
"He will always be remembered by football supporters across the world, especially by fans of the German national team and FC Bayern München with whom he enjoyed so much success."
Nicknamed "Der Kaiser," Beckenbauer is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.
He began his career with Bayern Munich in 1964, helping transform the club into a European powerhouse. With Bayern, Beckenbauer won four Bundesliga titles and three straight European Cups from 1974-1976.
Beckenbauer made 103 appearances for West Germany, including World Cup wins in 1974 and 1990.
He captained West Germany to victory as a player on home soil in 1974, and then coached the team to the title in 1990 after losing to Argentina in the final four years earlier.
"A really great person, a friend of football, a champion and a true legend, dear Franz will never be forgotten," Infantino said.
The German Football Association said Beckenbauer "inspired generations of footballers with his style of play and successes."
"His greatest triumphs were undoubtedly the World Cup victories with the national team in 1974 as captain and 1990 as team manager," the DFB said in a statement.
"But Franz Beckenbauer also shaped German club football like no other."