Emotional memorial service for German football legend Franz Beckenbauer in Munich

Emotional memorial service for German football legend Franz Beckenbauer in Munich
Fecha de publicación: 
20 January 2024
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Longtime companions, greats from politics and sports as well as many fans paid tribute Friday at Munich's Allianz Arena to German football legend Franz Beckenbauer who died Jan. 7

Among the mourners were German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"I don't know if the angels in heaven play sports, but if they do, they will certainly have heard this new, somewhat Bavarian-sounding voice in the past few days: 'Go out and play football!" the president said during the funeral service, which was live-streamed by German media.

"On behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, I say thank you Franz, thank you for everything," he added.

During the service, there was music and pictures from Beckenbauer's life were shown on the stadium's video walls.

Prime Minister of the German state of Bavaria, Markus Soder, also paid tribute.

"One of the most important men in Germany and one of the greatest Bavarians in history," said Soder.

Guests of honor included FIFA President Gianni Infantino, UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin, President of the German Football Association (DFB) Bernd Neuendorf and current national coach of the national team Julian Nagelsmann as well as his predecessors Joachim Low and Hansi Flick.

Pope Francis sent greetings via German Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

"I should also send greetings from Pope Francis. I have emailed him and he has sent special greetings to the family of Franz Beckenbauer," said Marx.

In his emotional farewell speech, honorary President of FC Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, said: "58 years ago, I was an exchange student near Birmingham. The German national team played against Spain and Argentina during the World Cup. That was the first time I saw Franz as a player. I thought to myself, if you could ever play with him, that would be the greatest thing."

Beckenbauer became a world and European champion with Germany. With FC Bayern Munich, he won the then-European Cup of Champions which is now the Champions League, three times and the German championship five times.

As a coach, he was also a world champion with Germany. He won the German and French championships once each and won the then-UEFA Cup, now the UEFA Europa League, with FC Bayern Munich.

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