Germany paid a final tribute to Franz Beckenbauer on Friday at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, 12 days after the German football legend died aged 78.
Beckenbauer was laid to rest at a private ceremony at a cemetery in Munich seven days earlier. Friday’s public commemoration welcomed fans and supporters to pay their respects under a blue Bavarian sky.
Around 20,000 fans gathered alongside leading lights of European football and German politicians including Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino sat alongside UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin and German FA boss Bernd Neuendorf.
Barcelona’s Joan Laporta, Paris Saint-Germain’s Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Real Madrid’s honorary president Jose Martinez Pirri were also in the stands. German World Cup winners Paul Breitner, Lothar Matthaeus and Bastian Schweinsteiger paid their respects on the pitch.
Beckenbauer’s famous number five, made of red roses, laid on the green turf of the Allianz, alongside wreaths placed by the biggest clubs in the world including Liverpool and Barcelona.
Honour ary Bayern President Uli Hoeness, who played with and later worked alongside Beckenbauer running the powerhouse club, paid tribute to his “great friend”.
“Dear Franz, you died 12 days ago. And to be honest, I miss you deeply”.
“Rest in peace, a peace that you unfortunately could not enjoy in the past few years in a manner you deserve.”
Born in suburban Munich, Beckenbauer was a legendary figure in world football for half a century.
He helped Bayern win promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time, before winning league and European titles with the club.
At an international level, Beckenbauer was a dominant force as player and coach, winning the 1972 Euros and the 1974 World Cup as player with West Germany.
He won two Ballons d’Or in 1972 and 1976, before coaching Germany to a World Cup, becoming one of only three men to have won the tournament as a player and a manager.
Munich’s Allianz Arena was a fitting venue for the public goodbye.
“The Allianz Arena, the most beautiful stadium in the world, would never have been built without Franz,” Hoeness said.
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