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Kaiser's milestone

Many happy returns! Franz Beckenbauer at 65

Franz Beckenbauer’s 60th birthday party five years ago was a veritable marathon, with a gala show on national TV, and parties organised by the state of Bavaria, the city of Munich, FIFA and naturally ‘his’ Bayern Munich. By comparison, the Kaiser’s 65th will be a small-scale affair, marked by a mere 69,000 fans at the Allianz Arena. Some ten minutes prior to kick-off in Saturday’s Bundesliga meeting between Bayern and Werder Bremen, the FCB board will honour the former player, coach and club president in an on-pitch ceremony.

However, the birthday boy is not sure he wishes to celebrate. “65 isn’t old,” he grinned, “it’s only a half milestone”. And birthday or no birthday, he will be fulfilling his duties as a TV studio expert on the day. A sizeable celebration is reserved for next year, “because life begins at 66. That’ll be a big party – provided I’m still alive.”