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Franz Beckenbauer began his international career as an impressive midfield player, but he eventually became known as one of the greatest defenders of all time. He was a versatile player, who adapted to different roles on the pitch, and is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper or libero. Voted as one of the 11 European Players of the Century in 1999, he became the first footballer to captain and then coach his country to triumph in the World Cup. Beckenbauer earned the coveted European Footballer of the Year award twice, in 1972 and 1976. He was voted Germany's Player of the Century in November 1998.
The young Beckenbauer began his career representing his schoolboy team FC1906 Munich, aged 10, in 1955 and, after signing up with Bayern Munich in 1962, he made his international debut in a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win in Sweden in 1965. He played as a midfield player in Germany’s 4-2 World Cup final defeat by England in 1966 and by the next year he was captaining Bayern Munich to victory over Glasgow Rangers in the final of the European Cup-Winners' Cup.
In 1970, he took part in his second World Cup and scored the goal, which ignited a German revival against England in the quarter-finals. However, West Germany went on to lose to Italy in the semi-finals. He captained his country to the European Championship title in 1972 and then led Bayern Munich to European Cup success in 1974. That same year, he achieved the pinnacle of his playing career as he captained West Germany to victory in the final of the World Cup against Holland.
Beckenbauer earned a record 103rd cap for his country in 1976 before moving to New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League where he won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1977, 1978 and 1980.
In 1984, he replaced Jupp Derwall as West Germany's coach and two years later, he coached the team to the World Cup final where they lost 2-3 to Argentina. Then, in 1990, he made footballing history when he coached West Germany to the World Cup final in Rome where they beat Argentina 1-0.
He coached Bayern Munich to the German League title in 1994 and then became Club President the following year.
Beckenbauer was President of the Organising Committee for the highly successful 2006 FIFA World Cup which was held in Germany.