German World Cup legend Franz Beckenbauer, one of the greatest footballers of all time, was presented with the coveted Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Barcelona. An emotional Beckenbauer, who won the FIFA World Cup as a player and coach, said: “This is one of the greatest honours in my life.”
Beckenbauer, President of the German 2006 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, received the Award from Bobby Charlton and Johan Cruyff, both of whom he played against in World Cup finals.
Pelé, Maradona, Cruyff, Charlton and Beckenbauer are the undisputed greats of World Cup football, but only one of them has won the trophy as a player, led his national team to success as a coach, and now organised a highly successful World Cup finals in his own country – Franz Beckenbauer. A unique achievement to crown a glittering career in sport.
He was given the nickname ‘der Kaiser’ – the Emperor – as a player because of his elegant style and his leadership qualities, but this was 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, Beckenbauer worked 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.
Beckenbauer played in Germany’s 4-2 World Cup final defeat by England in 1966, then in 1972 he captained his country to the European Championship. In 1974 he achieved the pinnacle of his playing career as he captained West Germany to victory in the final of the World Cup against Holland. In 1984, he replaced Jupp Derwall as West Germany's coach and two years later, he led the team to the World Cup final where they lost 3-2 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.