'Shining light goes on': 75,000 fans salute Beckenbauer

By AFP   January 12, 2024 | 07:31 pm PT
A 75,000-strong crowd at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena on Friday saluted football legend Franz Beckenbauer as a minute's silence was observed and a banner unfurled proclaiming "the shining light goes on his last journey - rest in peace, Kaiser."
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer. Photo courtesy of the German Football Association

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer. Photo courtesy of the German Football Association

Wearing tracksuits emblazoned with "Danke Franz" ("Thank You, Franz"), the Bayern players walked onto the pitch for their game against Hoffenheim to the tune of "Gute Freunde" ("Good Friends"), a pop song released by the footballer in the 1960s.

Beckenbauer died in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Sunday at the age of 78 and was laid to rest in a cemetery in the south of Munich on Friday, close to where he grew up.

In the freezing conditions of -9°C, the stadium fell silent before the match to celebrate the life of one of German football's favorite sons, a moment which will be repeated at each Bundesliga match this weekend.

Beckenbauer made his name at Bayern Munich, helping the club to their first ever promotion to the Bundesliga before winning league titles and European Cups with the side.

Bayern helped launch Beckenbauer's stunning career in the German national team, where he won the World Cup both as a coach and as a player. Only three men have achieved that feat.

The home side played in commemorative shirts on Friday which are set to be auctioned for the Franz Beckenbauer Foundation.

"It's a great incentive for the team and for me to dedicate the game to him and win," said Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel before the match.

The stadium will host a public commemoration of Beckenbauer's life on January 19. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed he would be in attendance.

Former Bayern goalkeeper Sepp Maier, who still holds the all-time appearances record for the German champions, called on Friday for a statue of Beckenbauer to be built outside the stadium.

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