When football experts and historians talk about the greatest footballers of all-time, very few names are mentioned. You have the magical figure of Brazil’s Pele, the unparalleled talents of Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, the mercurial skills of France’s Zinedine Zidane, the stonewall defense of Italy’s Paolo Maldini, and of course, the cutting-edge leadership of West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
Beckenbauer is often credited with changing the game forever through his innovative play as a central defender. He was ahead of his time so much so that a new position, that of the sweeper was created because of his play.
Beckenbauer’s football genius earned him the European Football Player of the Year two times. He played in three World Cups and won one as a player. He would go on to win another one as a manager, being one of two people in history to do so. Beckenbauer was also the first captain to win the World Cup and European Championship (international competition), and European Cup (club level).
More recently in 1998, Beckenbauer was included in the World Team of the 20th Century. In 2002, he was part of the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and two years later, he was included in the FIFA 100 list of world’s greatest living players.