Great and good of German football hail Beckenbauer on birthday

Tributes have poured in to German football legend Franz Beckenbauer who celebrates 75th birthday on Friday with former international team-mate Guenter Netzer calling him the “greatest fortune of German football.”

Another former West Germany colleague Uwe Seeler said Beckenbauer remained “normal and human” despite his great success in the game.

Juergen Klinsmann, who played under coach Beckenbauer in winning the 1990 World Cup, said “football, regardless of in Germany or everywhere in the world, has so infinite things to thank you for.”

Netzer summed up Beckenbauer’s lifetime contribution by telling Sportbuzzer: “He was the best. Is the best. And there was no better who could follow him.

“You can’t give presents to someone like Franz Beckenbauer. Even for a birthday,” Netzer added. “He has gifted himself through so much. The only thing my wife Elvira and I can wish him for him is he recovers well from his health set backs and is with us for a long time.”

Beckenbauer won the European Cup three successive times with Bayern Munich 1974-76, the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup with West Germany in 1974.

He won multiple Bundesligas with Bayern before rounding out his playing career in the US with two spells at New York Cosmos, with a title-winning swan song at Hamburg squeezed in between.

Beckenbauer then coached West Germany to the 1990 World Cup and was influential in bringing the tournament to the unified country in 2006 – though he was implicated in alleged corruption that surrounded that event.

The accusations against Beckenbauer lapsed after the statute of limitations expired. He was being tried in a Swiss court separately from the other accused due to his ill health, having had heart surgery in 2016 and 2017.

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