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Franz Beckenbauer: The complicated legacy of a true game-changer

Related Topics: Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff



For those who saw him play -- even just in grainy videos -- there's a single image of Franz Beckenbauer that stands out. Striding out of the back, ball at his feet, head held high, eyes scanning for things only he could see, while worry builds in the eyes of the opponents: that was "Der Kaiser" who passed away on Monday, on the pitch.

But there's far more to him than that.

You could say Franz Beckenbauer was a fortunate man. Most of us get just one act in our professional lives; he achieved GOAT candidate status as a player, made history as a World Cup-winning coach, helped his club consolidate its status as a juggernaut, organized a World Cup in his native Germany and ended his career as a member of FIFA's executive committee.