Franz Beckenbauer

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It all began with a good clip round the ear. Unfortunately for TSV 1860 Munich, it was one of their players who chose to clout the 13 year-old Franz Beckenbauer, causing him to turn his back on the 'Lions' and join Bayern instead. The year was 1958, the beginning of a football career unparalleled to this day.

More than 40 years later, Beckenbauer and Bayern still belong together like no other before or since. He was part of the team promoted to the Bundesliga in 1965, and a succession of honours quickly followed: four German championships (1969, 1972-74), four Cup winners' medals (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971), three European Cup triumphs (1974-76), the Cup Winners' Cup (1967), and the World Club Cup (1976) - all of them with Bayern.

However, theKaiser's crowning glory as a player was a World Cup winner's medal in 1974. His elegance, ease on the ball and graceful control earned him his superlative nickname. After 396 Bundesliga appearances and 44 goals, he finally left Bayern in 1977, to play out his career in the USA with the New York Cosmos.

But the man who also won Germany's 'Footballer of the year' award four times (1966, 1968, 1974, 1976) now embarked on a second career, taking on the role of national team coach. It was in this job that he chalked up another outstanding achievement: having won the World Cup in 1974 as a player, he secured the game's highest honour a second time in 1990, this time as coach. After that, he returned home to Bayern.

From 28 December 1993 until 30 June 1994, and then from 29 April 1996 until 30 June of the same year, he coached Germany's most successful club side. His brief spells in charge saw him collect two further honours - the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996. In 1994 he had taken on the role of club president at Bayern, and much of the Munich giants' success in the following years has been credited to his astute management. Following the club's decision to change from an association to a limited company, he has been chairman of the advisory board since the beginning of 2002.

Beckenbauer is also active within the German Football Association (DFB). He was elected vice-president in 1998, and led Germany's successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup. He currently heads up the tournament organising committee.

There can be no question that Franz Beckenbauer is the undisputed 'higher power' of German football. And if the 'Kaiser' had a throne, it would be installed at Bayern's Säbener Strasse headquarters.

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