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‘The Swedes aren’t Dutch’

The things they say… Franz Beckenbauer

After five decades as the leading personality at Bayern, Franz Beckenbauer stepped down as club president and supervisory board chairman in November 2009. It is the end of an era the like of which will never be seen again, as Beckenbauer spent more than 50 years as player, coach or official with his home-town club. He has never been short of a witticism or ready quip either, so presents a selection of the Kaiser’s most celebrated quotes.

“Half the nation was behind the TV at the time.”
(On the 1990 World Cup final)

“The result won’t change much now, unless someone scores.”

“I’m still wondering what type of sport my team offered up this evening. It certainly wasn’t football.”
(After a Bayern defeat)

“We collected old newspapers and iron so we could scrape together the couple of pfennigs you needed for a leather football back then. Then we’d finally have enough for the ball. Naturally, we played football every day. A different one of us was allowed to take the ball home with him every day, where he had to grease it.”
(On his footballing childhood)

“Get out there and play football.”
(Tactical instructions as a coach)

“It wasn’t the hand of God, it was a slap by an 1860 player.”
(On the clip round the ear by an 1860 Munich player in 1958, the reason why the 13-year-old Beckenbauer joined Bayern and not the Lions)

“The longer I think it over, the more definitely I’m not available.”

“The Swedes aren’t Dutch – that was clear to everyone watching.”

“Berkant Göktan is only 17. If he’s lucky, he’ll be 18 next month.”

“You know who I felt most sorry for? The ball.”
(After a Germany match)

“I think it’s fantastic, the way women are increasingly increasing in the Bundesliga.”

“There’s been a number of games that shouldn’t have taken place in the stadiums, they should have played them on the shale pitch next door.”
(On standards at the 1998 World Cup in France)

“I honestly don’t know if I’ll recognise all the players in the team today...”
(On his own Bayern line-up, shorn of nine regulars against Dynamo Kiev)

“There’s lots of talk about rebuilding the east of the country, but we at Bayern are contributing actively. Who else was it who’s handed points to Rostock and Cottbus?”

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game, because England can’t defend, and the Portuguese never bother.”
(On the England-Portugal quarter-final at the EURO)

“I played through 15 straight months in a single year.”

“The only thing moving in the first half was the wind.”