Franz Beckenbauer, Germany football legend dies aged 78

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 78.

Beckenbauer, nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, won the World Cup with West Germany as captain in 1974 and a manager in 1990.

The former defender is one of three men, along with Brazil’s Mario Zagallo, who passed away this month, and France’s Didier Deschamps, to have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager.

At club level, Beckenbauer is considered a Bayern Munich legend having won three successive European Cups with the German giants in 1974-76 along with four Bundesliga titles.

He also managed Bayern to Bundesliga glory in 1994 and a UEFA Cup triumph in 1996.

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.”

Beckenbauer was famed for carving out his own role as a sweeper – now often known as a “Libero” – sitting slightly behind his team’s defensive line and sweeping up any man or ball that broke through.

Beckenbauer also won an array of personal honours, including two European Footballer of the Year awards as a defender – a rarity at the time and still to this day.

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