Death of Famous Soccer Player: Franz Beckenbauer

Death of Famous Soccer Player: Franz Beckenbauer

On January 7, 2024, the world experienced the death of a man who changed the game of soccer. Franz Beckenbauer passed away this past Sunday at the age of 78 from natural causes. Beckenbauer’s first famous team debut was for Bayern Munich when was just 18-years-old. He stayed with Munich for about 14 seasons, made 582 appearances, and scored 75 goals (which is more than normal for someone playing center back).

Beckenbauer went on to play with the Bavarians, where he obtained “four league titles, four German Cups, a Winners’ Cup and three European Cups” (Marcotti 9). In 1977, he joined the Cosmos where he won three titles over the course of four seasons. Franz Beckenbauer’s career was international. He played all over the world with different teams. Beckenbauer’s main position was center back. Even though he wasn’t the first center back who could execute complex plays and moves, “nobody did it as effectively and on such a big stage” (Marcotti 6).

As Beckenbauers career continued, he played countless games. Out of all the games, one will forever be remembered by FIFA as the “Game of the Century.” He was headed to an intense game with another infamous player from Brazil: Pelé, “only to be upset by Italy in an epic 4-3 extra time thriller” (Marcotti 12). If you go back and watch this game, you’ll see Beckenbauer playing in the last 50 minutes with a dislocated shoulder, his arm being strapped to his side in a sling.

When Beckenbauer was a part of the West Germany team that had reached the finals, they unfortunately ended up losing to England. To this day, most Germans refer to England’s winning goal in this match as the “ghost goal.” They refer to it as the ghost goal because many people believe that the ball never actually crossed the line.

Franz Beckenbauer will forever be remembered for his stellar performance as a soccer player, but he will also be remembered for what happened after he retired. Beckenbauer retired in 1983 and within a year, he became the coach of West Germany and guided them into the 1986 World Cup, where they unfortunately were beaten by the one and only Maradona. Beckenbauer didn’t give up. 4 years later, Beceknabuer and Maradona were face-to-face again in the finals of the World Cup. West Germany played Argentina, beating them 1-0 and making Beckenbauer the second person in history to win the World Cup as both player and coach.

As well as becoming the new coach for West Germany, from 1994 to 2009 Beckenbauer “served as club president of Bayern – a largely honorary position” (Marcotti 15). Alongside club president of Bayern, Beckenbauer became vice president of the German Football Association; he became head of the bid committee which eventually awarded the 2006 World Cup to Germany; Beckenbauer gained position as the head of the organizing committee of the 2006 World Cup; and later went on to become a FIFA Executive Committee member.

In 2006, Germany had won the bid over South Africa amidst highly controversial circumstances, such as “allegations of corruption” (Marcotti 17). Rumors were traveling around quickly saying that Beckenbauer’s position as head of the organizing committee was not actually volunteer, which he claimed. Many were saying he was being paid $6 million by a sponsor. More rumors spiraled saying that he was part of the corruption in the vote for two World Cups, the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Eventually, the FIFA ethics committee began investigating Beckenbauer. After 5 years, they were forced to drop the case because of the statute of limitations expiring.

A fan of Franz Beckenbauer, Michael Vivino, was interviewed about his feelings towards Beckenbauer as a person and as a soccer player. Michael said that Beckenbauer was one of the icons of soccer. Not only did Beckenbauer have success as a player, but he also had an equally successful career coaching. When it came down to the allegations about Beckenbauers volunteer experience and involvement in the World Cup, Vivino Michael thinks that “he probably illegally got the 2006 World Cup in Germany.”

Aside from all the rumors, Vivino doesn’t believe that Beckenbauer was a bad person, but he definitely suspects Beckenbauer was “involved with some shady politics after his playing and coaching career.” When Michael found out about Beckenbauer’s death, he was upset because another person from the generation that expanded the game of soccer around the world was unfortunately gone.

Vivino has also heard of the infamous “ghost goal.” He thinks that if it’s true, “the goal shouldn’t have counted but that’s sports.” Vivino said that over the years there have been major technological advances to fix mistakes such as the ghost goal but sometimes they still get things wrong, “you just hope you’re not on the wrong end of it when it does happen.”

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