Franz Beckenbauer is in my all time world eleven of players I have seen playing football. He was one of the greatest players to have played the game.
He could play any position you care to mention. Der Kaiser won it all as a player and is one of only three men to have won the World cup as both player and manager.
For the benefit of the generations who think the world revolves around the English Premier League and the vast amounts of money paid out for mediocrity.
If Beckenbauer was available in today’s game, start the bidding at £200m. He could play Sweeper, centre half, midfield and more than likely up front if he was called upon.
In one match at the 1970 World cup, he played against Italy with his arm strapped up after dislocating his shoulder, and he didn’t roll about and make a meal of it, he got on with the game.
As a youngster, I marveled at this new ‘sweeper’ that moved with grace from back to front long before a certain Virgil van Dijk was born!
He could defend, pick a pass, and turn defence into attack on his own, gliding past many world class midfielders with ease.
He was part of the great Bayern Munich side of the mid-seventies. If Cruyff was the Dutch master, Beckenbauer was the Emperor of German and World football.
He also had that touch of class off the field. He was the perfect ambassador, who commanded respect from his fellow professionals.
He always looked immaculate, standing just short of six feet tall with not a hair out of place. If you loaded all the requirements of what you wanted in a leader on the field of play into a computer, Beckenbauer would undoubtedly be the exact fit.
The ‘Libero’ may be gone, but his memory will live on with anyone who loves the beautiful game.
Rest in peace Der Kaiser.