Quotes on: Franz Beckenbauer

“Very graceful, great on the ball and a great reader of the game. He could also play in midfield and in defence, but for me his best position is as the ‘libero’ at the back,bringing the ball out and linking defence with midfield. He was a great leader too, a positive influence in the dressing room.” — Ossie Ardiles

“He was a leader of men, a dominant presence who could bring the ball out with grace and skill. But I tell you this: he broke my heart. As an eight-year-old, I watched the 1974 World Cup Final between West Germany and Holland and I was supporting the Dutch. I cried my eyes out when they lost. I was very sad, but now I understand all about the brilliance of the Kaiser.” — Eric Cantona

“You’d have to say he was the perfect player.” — Karl-Henz Rummenigge

“I’ve never heard anyone criticize him in my whole life, both on the pitch and off it.” — Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

“He could play in either position (defence or midfield). [ . . . ] He had versatility, suppleness, read the game very well, knew how to play, and could get forward and score goals too.” — Eusebio

“Franz was a marvelous distributor of the ball, a great tackler, he always had control of a situation and he never panicked. [ . . . ] (He was) extremely cool and never looked like (he was) at full stretch. Such a hard player to play against.” Sir Bobby Charlton

“The most important thing he had was a fantastic vision.” — Sir Bobby Charlton

“When I think back to ’66, Franz and I spent most of the day looking at each other and as a result we didn’t contribute anything to the match in a really positive way. We were so busy making sure each other didn’t do anything that we cancelled each other out.” — Sir Bobby Charlton, referring to the final of the 1966 World Cup where England beat West Germany

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“He was a great player, very positive, very fast and always dangerous. So it was my job to stop him in 1966 and 1970. He was the most dangerous player they had. He could do extraordinary things with his pace, control and ability, but if someone ran with him all the time it seemed to limit his danger.” — Sir Bobby Charlton

“Beckenbauer was one of the best I ever saw play.” — Pele

“I once saw Franz Beckenbauer enter a restaurant and he did it the same way he played football: with class and authority.” — Brian Clough

“He was the puppet master, standing back and pulling the strings which earned West Germany and Bayern Munich every major prize.” — Keir Radnedge, editor of the World Soccer magazine, and a highly respected football journalist

“A true gentleman of football, who was capable of playing anywhere on the pitch because he was so skillful and read the game so well. Add to that the fact he was class epitomised and was at the top for a long time. Stylish.” — Emmanuel Petit

“[ . . . ] from the videos I’ve seen, Beckenbauer was incredible. He joined in attacks, had goals in him and bossed his team. Amazing.” — Gerard Pique

“Every pass of his has eyes and finds his teammates, everywhere.” — Vladislav Bogicevic (Beckenbauer’s teammate at the New York Cosmos)

“Class personified. Calmness, pace and the ability to effortlessly move into midfield and attack. He had a picture of every player on the pitch. He inspired me as a kid, when I saw him play a pass with the inside or then the outside of his foot. The mark of a great player is the ability to be just as effective playing through different eras.” — Glenn Hoddle

“No one ever got past Franz.” — Gerd Muller

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