Franz began life as a stylish midfield player but eventually became known as one of the greatest defenders in the history of football, He is often credited with inventing the role of the modern sweeper or libero.
He was given the nickname ‘der Kaiser’ – the Emperor – as a player because of his elegance and leadership qualities. He twice won the European Footballer of the Year award, in 1972 and 1976. He was also selected as a centre-back in the World Team of the 20th Century and voted runner-up to Johan Cruyff as the European Player of the 20th Century.
In 1990, after West Germany’s win in Italy, Franz became the first man in history to both captain and coach his country to victory in the FIFA World Cup.
The young Franz began his career representing his schoolboy team FC1906 Munich, aged ten, in 1955 and, after signing up with Bayern Munich in 1962, he made his international debut for West Germany in a 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in Sweden in 1965. He played in midfield in the 4-2 World Cup final defeat by England in 1966.
The following year he captained Bayern Munich to victory over Glasgow Rangers in the final of the European Cup-Winners' Cup.
In 1970, he took part in his second FIFA World Cup in Mexico and scored the goal which ignited a revival against England in the quarter-finals, although 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 which proved to be a momentous year for Franz who achieved the pinnacle of his playing career as he captained West Germany to victory in the final of the FIFA World Cup against Holland.
Franz earned a then record 103rd cap for his country in 1976 before moving to New York Cosmos to play 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 led the team to the FIFA World Cup final where they lost 3-2 to Argentina. He would only have to wait another four years before making football history though, coaching West Germany to World Cup glory in Italy, where they took revenge on Argentina with a 1-0 win.
He became manager of Bayern Munich in 1993 and led the club to the German League title in 1994. He was appointed President of the club the following year.
Franz’s leadership qualities were never more apparent than when he became President of the Organising Committee of the FIFA World Cup 2006. From the first presentation in the bidding process through to the final in Berlin in July, he worked for nine years on the tournament, which was hailed as one of the most enjoyable ever. It was fun loving and friendly, a summer carnival, all backed by great organisation.
At the heart of it all was Franz, who seemed to be everywhere. He criss-crossed the country by helicopter, taking in 46 of the 64 matches. The day before the last 16 matches began, he even found time to fly to his home in Kitzbühel to marry his long time partner Heidi.
Franz became a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in 2007 and in the same year was presented with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.