Football legend and one of the greatest ever to grace the pitch, German World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer passed away at the age of 78 on Monday, reported Sky Sports.
Beckenbauer, popularly referred to as 'Der Kaiser', won the World Cup with West Germany in 1974 as a player and in 1990 as a manager. He is considered a legend at Bayern Munich and was a two-time Ballon d'Or winner during his playing career.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Franz Beckenbauer, one of football's greatest ever players. A World Cup winner as both player and manager, 'Der Kaiser' was as elegant as he was dominant. He will forever be remembered," the official Premier League X handle posted.
He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest footballers of all time and holds the distinction of being one of just three individuals to have achieved World Cup victory both as a player and a manager. Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Didier Deschamps of France are the only other two to have accomplished this feat.
"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. We ask that you be able to grieve in silence and refrain from asking any questions," a family statement read, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Beckenbauer started out playing as a midfielder, but gained fame as a central defender, establishing himself as one of the pioneering players who excelled in both defensive skills and precise ball distribution.
The ex-Bayern Munich player achieved victory in the European Cup thrice with the Bavarian team. Additionally, he secured the Bundesliga title four times as a player and once as a coach. In 1996, he guided Bayern to victory in the UEFA Cup.
Beckenbauer was also honored with several individual awards, such as two European Footballer of the Year awards for his exceptional performance as a defender. This was uncommon during his time and remains unusual even in the present day.