‘German soccer hero’ Jürgen Klinsmann, 60, coach of South Korea’s national soccer team, passes away Franz Beckenbauer has passed away.
According to the Korea Football Association, Klinsmann broke down in tears in front of his players at the team’s training center on Sept. 9 after the news of Beckenbauer’s passing broke.
“Today is a very sad day for me,” Klinsmann told the players, “Coach Beckenbauer gave me the dream of winning the World Cup, and he made me grow into the person I am today, not only in soccer but also in humanity.” Klinsmann also said, “Beckenbauer is very important to me, so today will be very hard, but I want to overcome this sadness with you. Let’s do our best to train today,” Klinsmann said.
Germany’s dpa news agency, Bild and other outlets reported Beckenbauer’s passing today. He was 78 years old. In a statement to dpa, Beckenbauer’s family said, “Father and husband Beckenbauer passed away on Sunday (Aug. 7). He passed away peacefully in the presence of his family.”
Klinsmann and Beckenbauer were priests. Beckenbauer coached the German national team when Klinsmann was a player. The two won a World Cup together at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where Klinsmann scored three goals to help West Germany win the tournament. Coach Andreas Köpke, who currently assists Klinsmann with the South Korean national team, also played for Germany at the 1990 World Cup.
Beckenbauer also led Germany to the 2006 World Cup as bid chairman and organizer. Klinsmann took charge of the German national team and led his country to a third-place finish at the tournament.
“Beckenbauer was like a father figure,” Klinsmann told the Korea Football Association. Along with Pele (Brazil), he was the best player in the world for an era, and in Germany, Beckenbauer was the leader of soccer. “I don’t think there’s ever been a more charismatic player in the history of sports, not just soccer. As a coach, he was an idol for all the players.”
“Beckenbauer was always grateful and always respectful of everyone. For my generation of players, he was like a mentor. He also led Germany to the 2006 World Cup, which in Germany is called the ‘summer fairy tale’. It hurts a lot,” he said.
Klinsmann wasn’t the only soccer star to express his condolences. The “God of Soccer” Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) posted a photo of Beckenbauer’s playing days on his social media page, along with the initials “Q.E.P.D.,” which stands for “Rest in Peace. World-class striker Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona), who played for Bayern Munich (Germany), also posted a photo of Beckenbauer and wrote: “Rest in Peace Legend.
Bayern Munich players also joined the tributes. Beckenbauer played for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. “The greatest player in the history of the club has left us,” said veteran Munich striker Thomas Muller. We will never forget Beckenbauer’s achievements.” He was joined by Jamal Musalla, Dayot Upamecano, and Joshua Kimmich, who posted photos of Beckenbauer to pay their respects. World-class goalkeeper Manuel Neuer posted a picture of Beckenbauer hoisting the World Cup trophy in a Germany jersey. Key striker Harry Kane also joined the tributes, having worn a Munich jersey last summer.
“The news of Beckenbauer’s death is a great shock, his passing is a great loss not only for Germany but also for the world of soccer,” said German legend Lothar Matthäus. “He was not only a great player and manager, but also a great person off the field.” Mateusz played for Munich from 1984 to 1988 and 1992 to 2000.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “The Kaiser (Beckenbauer) inspired passion for soccer across eras and generations. He was one of Germany’s greatest soccer players and will be missed by all.”
Beckenbauer is a legend, regarded as one of the greatest players in world soccer history. He won the Ballon d’Or twice, in 1972 and 1976, for the best player of the year. This is an even greater feat considering that Beckenbauer’s position is a defender, a position that doesn’t get as much attention as other players. In fact, Beckenbauer is the only defender to win the Ballon d’Or twice. Beckenbauer also won the German Footballer of the Year award four times. In 1974, he captained the German national team and led West Germany to a World Cup victory.
He was also a legendary player in Munich, where South Korean “monster defender” Kim Min-jae plays. Wearing the captain’s armband, Beckenbauer won four Bundesliga titles, three European Cups, and countless other trophies. Thanks to him, Munich was at its peak in the 1970s. Beckenbauer’s outstanding leadership earned him the nickname “Kaiser”.
Center backs Sergio Ramos (Sevilla) and Ronald Araujo (Barcelona) also paid tribute to Beckenbauer. “We say goodbye to a legend and a pioneer. Beckenbauer was a role model for generations of defenders to come. Rest in peace. Kaiser,” he wrote.