Legend of German football Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78 | Football

Franz Beckenbauer has sadly passed away at 78 years old (Picture: Getty Images)

Germany and Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78, his family has confirmed.

The iconic defender played for Bayern Munich from 1964-77, winning four Bundesliga titles and three European Cups.

He starred for the West Germany national team, winning the 1974 World Cup and finishing runner-up to England in 1966, ending his career with 103 caps for his country.

He was unquestionably one of the greatest players on the planet during his peak, winning the Ballon d’Or in 1972 and ’76.

Later in his career he moved to Hamburger SV, winning the Bundesliga, and had two spells with New York Cosmos, winning the North American Soccer League three times.

Beckenbauer went on to manage West Germany to the 1990 World Cup in Italy, further cementing his legendary status in his nation.

He is only one of three men to have won the World Cup as a player and a manager, along with Mario Zagallo for Brazil and Didier Deschamps for France.

1974 World Cup Final, Munich, West Germany, 7th July, 1974, West Germany 2 v Holland 1, West German captain Franz Beckenbauer raises his arms in celebration as they become World Champions for the second time in history (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Franz Beckenbauer after West Germany beat Holland to win the 1974 World Cup in Munich (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It is with deep sadness that we announce that my husband and our father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family,’ the family said.

‘We ask that you be able to grieve in silence and refrain from asking any questions.’

(GERMANY OUT) Franz Beckenbauer w??hrend des UEFA-Cup-Wettbewerbs 95/96. Bayern M??nchen spielte in den Endspielen gegen den franz??sischen Verein Girondins Bordeaux. Undatiertes Foto. (Photo by Bernd Wende/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Beckenbauer also managed Bayern Munich after his success with West Germany (Picture: Getty Images)

Lothar Matthaus, a fellow Bayern and Germany legend who was Beckenbauer’s captain at the 1990 World Cup, told Bild of the death of his good friend: ‘The shock is deep, even though I knew that Franz wasn’t feeling well.

‘His death is a loss for football and for Germany as a whole. He was one of the greatest as a player and coach, but also off the field.

‘Franz was an outstanding personality not only in football, and he enjoyed worldwide recognition. Everyone who knew him knows what a great and generous person Franz was. A good friend left us. I will miss him – we will all miss him!’

Gary Lineker posted on social media: ‘Very sorry to hear that Franz Beckenbauer has died. One of the absolute greats of our game. Der Kaiser was the most beautiful of footballers who won it all with grace and charm. RIP.’

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