German legend Franz Beckenbauer laid to rest in Munich

German legend Franz Beckenbauer laid to rest in Munich

by Agence France-Presse
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Franz Beckenbauer, one of only three men to win the World Cup as player and a coach, was laid to rest in Munich in a small private ceremony on Friday with the country mourning the loss of “a great footballer, athlete and person”.

German tabloid Bild reported Beckenbauer, who died on Sunday at the age of 78, was buried in the Perlacher Forest cemetery, just two kilometres from where he grew up in suburban Munich.

Photographs showed Beckenbauer’s coffin covered in flowers and carried through the snow-covered cemetery in the south of the Bavarian capital.

He was buried in a plot next to his son Stephan, who died of a brain tumour at the age of 46 in 2015. Beckenbauer’s parents are also buried in the cemetery.

Friday’s service was restricted to a small number of friends and family.

Beckenbauer’s former club, Bayern Munich, have planned a public commemoration for January 19 at their Allianz Arena stadium.

The event in the 75,000-seat stadium will be open to the public and will be broadcast on German television.

A spokesperson for Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed on Friday the German leader would be in attendance in order to “show his great respect and recognition for one of our country’s great athletes”.

“With Franz Beckenbauer, our country is losing a great footballer, athlete and person.”

Bayern president Herbert Hainer told Bild the arena was the ideal venue as “this stadium would not exist without him”.

“It should be a memorial service for everyone, together with fans and companions.”

Beckenbauer spent his final years in the Austrian city of Salzburg in ailing health and made few public appearances.

As a player, Beckenbauer won the World Cup with West Germany in 1974, before doing so again as coach in 1990.

Beckenbauer, Brazil’s Mario Zagallo, who died last week, and Didier Deschamps of France are the only men to have won the World Cup as a player and coach.

He won Bundesliga titles as a player with Bayern and Hamburg, as well as the European Cup, the precursor to the modern Champions League, in three straight years from 1974 to 1976.

Beckenbauer also won a Bundesliga title as coach of Bayern, before eventually going on to become club president where he helped solidify them as one of European football’s powerhouse teams.

He also played a key role in securing the 2006 World Cup for Germany as host nation, but would later come under fire for allegations of corruption in relation to the bidding process.

Bayern, currently second in the Bundesliga behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen, host Hoffenheim later on Friday.

The German champions have planned a number of events, including warming up wearing Beckenbauer’s famous number five, and will play in jerseys marked ‘Danke, Franz’ (thank you, Franz).

The jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Franz Beckenbauer Federation.

All German Bundesliga matches this weekend will commemorate Beckenbauer’s passing with a moment of silence before kick-off.

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