Previous
Zenit St Petersburg
AS Monaco
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Juventus
1
0
FT
Game Details
Malmo FF
Olympiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
Liverpool
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Real Madrid
1
2
FT
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
Benfica
3
1
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Borussia Dortmund
0
3
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Galatasaray
4
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Reading
0
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Huddersfield Town
1
3
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Bolton Wanderers
4
0
FT
Game Details
Puebla
UNAM
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
America
Veracruz
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Pachuca
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
U. de G.
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
Cruz Azul
2:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Ottawa Fury FC
Atlanta Silverbacks
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bahia
César Vallejo
0
0
LIVE HT
Leg 1
Game Details
Emelec
Goiás EC
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
EC Vitória
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Libertad
River Plate
Oct 16, 2014 1:30 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
2
0
FT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Independiente
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Crucero del Norte
Sp. Belgrano
1
0
FT
Game Details
All Boys
Sarmiento de Junín
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Santa Marina
Atlético Tucumán
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Colón de Santa Fe
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Guaraní A. Franco
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Huracán
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Aldosivi
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
ABC
0
0
LIVE HT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Santos FC
1
3
LIVE HT
Leg 1
Game Details
Corinthians
Atlético MG
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
América RN
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Inti Gas Deportes
0
0
FT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
Universitario de Deportes
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Cristal
Real Garcilaso
1
1
FT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
César Vallejo
Postp
Game Details
Guaraní
3 de Febrero
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Sportivo Luqueño
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional
11:10 PM GMT
Game Details
General Díaz
Olimpia
11:40 PM GMT
Game Details
Mushuc Runa
U. Católica
2
0
FT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Barcelona
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Olmedo
Club Deportivo Cuenca
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
El Nacional
LDU Quito
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Deportivo Quito
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
The Strongest
0
0
FT
Game Details
San José
Oriente Petrolero
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Western Sydney Wanderers
FC Seoul
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
CD Dragon
Alianza FC
Postp
Postponed - now being played Wed, Oct 1
Game Details
Valledupar F.C.
Atlético Junior
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
Once Caldas
12:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Next

Delaney: Arsenal's injury crisis

Arsenal 15 hours ago
Read
 Posted by Raphael Honigstein
Aug 20, 2014

Franz Beckenbauer: The effortless master

ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein revisits the illustrious career of Franz Beckenbauer and the leadership role he played both on and off the pitch.

Who is the greatest captain of all time? From Aug. 18-29, ESPN FC will reveal its 10-man shortlist of the finest skippers to have graced the game before conducting a vote for the winner. The result will be revealed Sept. 1.


Franz Beckenbauer didn't need the captaincy armband to be a true leader on the pitch. That much had become clear during the 1970 World Cup semifinal against Italy in Mexico City's Azteca stadium, a match that would later be widely described as "the game of the century" as well as "the most wonderful, dramatic and fabulous game of all time" by the Mexican newspaper Excelsior. Veteran striker Uwe Seeler, of Hamburg, was the official West Germany skipper during the tournament, but the elegant, effortless Beckenbauer had become the team's fulcrum at his second World Cup.

The Bayern Munich player, then still a central midfielder and only 24 years old, had suffered a dislocated shoulder after a foul from Italy's Pierluigi Cera in the 70th minute. Beckenbauer struggled on with his right arm fixed to his body by tape and his hand on the German FA badge just below his heart, through 50 more thrilling, exhausting minutes. The Azzurri ended up going through to the final, thanks to Gianni Rivera's goal in the 111th minute that clinched a 4-3 win, but Germany, and Beckenbauer in particular, had won many plaudits. London's Evening Standard praised him as a "wounded, beaten but proud Prussian officer." He had no time for the praise, however. The defeat had hurt too much.

Franz Beckenbauer

Teams captained: West Germany, Bayern Munich.

Trophies won: Bundesliga (five times); DFB-Pokal (four times); European Cup (1974, 1975, 1976); UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1967); Intercontinental Cup (1976); North American Soccer League (1977, 1978, 1980); 1974 World Cup; European championship (1972).

Four years later, the man dubbed Der Kaiser for his regal playing style on the pitch would lift the World Cup trophy as captain in his hometown of Munich. The 2-1 win over Johan Cruyff's Netherlands marked the pinnacle of a golden era for German football -- Beckenbauer's era. He had already led the national team to a first European championship win two years earlier and his club side Bayern Munich to the first of three European Cup triumphs in the 4-0 replay against Atletico Madrid in May 1974.

In the Munich final, Beckenbauer starred as "the rook in the battle," as the German TV commentator would have it. Playing as a sweeper, in a role that he had helped to revolutionise over the course of a few years -- he was a deep-lying playmaker rather than the last line of defence -- Beckenbauer even headed the ball out of his box a few times, despite a famous reluctance to do so that some (jokingly) ascribed to his being worried about his hair. But there was plenty of his customary skill on the ball, too, of course. "Beckenbauer showed his genius," wrote Italian newspaper Il Giorno after the final.

The World Cup win secured Beckenbauer's status as a bona fide superstar. "The white Pele," Kicker magazine called him. According to his West Germany teammate Gunter Netzer, however, Beckenbauer's most important achievement had occurred off the pitch. After the surprising 1-0 defeat by the GDR (East Germany) in the first group stage, team morale had hit rock bottom. Beckenbauer delivered a no-holds-barred speech in front of the team, singled out underachieving players and reshaped the lineup for the rest of tournament in conjunction with team manager Helmut Schon.

Franz Beckenbauer celebrates World Cup glory in 1974.

All-time greatest captains

Tony Adams - Aug. 18
Franco Baresi - Aug. 19
Franz Beckenbauer - Aug. 20
Francisco Gento - Aug. 21
Steven Gerrard - Aug. 22
Roy Keane - Aug. 25
Bobby Moore - Aug. 26
Carles Puyol - Aug. 27
Obdulio Varela - Aug. 28
Dino Zoff - Aug. 29


Vote: Aug. 29
Result: Sept. 1

"Of all his attainments for German football, this was one was his biggest," said Netzer. "He took charge in this terrible situation, when the team was about to fall apart, protected Schon and rebuilt the team with him." Netzer was one of the losers in the reshuffle, along with Beckenbauer's club teammate Uli Hoeness, but both realised that The Kaiser had been right. "He was outstanding in every single game of the World Cup and showed leadership qualities that helped the team find its feet," Hoeness said.

Beckenbauer was not afraid to take on the German FA, either. Before the tournament, he negotiated a 70,000 DM bonus for winning the competition during an ill-tempered meeting that lasted until 5 in the morning. And a few hours after the win in the Olympic stadium, he ordered his players to boycott the German FA's victory banquet over their refusal to let the players' wives take part.

Taking the national team to another World Cup win in 1990 as team manager made him a veritable demigod in postwar German history; the successful bid and staging of the 2006 tournament with him as head of the organising committee confirmed his exalted position. Die Lichtgestalt ("figure of light"), they started calling him. To this day, his opinions on the game carry deep resonance, even if he's happy to revise them at the drop of a hat. "If Franz tells them the ball is square, they will believe it," joked Otto Rehhagel, the former Werder Bremen and Greece coach.

Franz Beckenbauer skippered Bayern Munich to numerous trophies, including the European Cup in 1975.

On the pitch, ironically, his incredible lightness of touch used to work almost against him, as far as the German public's appreciation went. Beckenbauer never seemed to sweat. He was effortless; he floated through games in an upright manner, freed from man-marking duties. He sprayed inch-perfect passes with the outside of his boot. "Every pass of his has eyes and finds his teammates, everywhere " said Vladislav Bogicevic, his midfield partner with the New York Cosmos.

Opposition fans found his excellence hard to swallow. They threw knives at him and his Bayern team in the mid-70s. Football was understood as a game of hard work, not artistry. "That's why the masses have had total respect but never loved him the way they loved [former greats] Uwe Seeler and Fritz Walter," wrote Kicker on the occasion of his last Bundesliga game in 1983.

Beckenbauer made things look easy. Too easy. But those closer to him understood that his imperious game was built on a strong work ethic. He grew up as the son of a postal worker in Giesing, one of Munich's poorest and most-bombed quarters after the war. He spent days on end hitting a ball against a wall in the backyard. "That wall was the most honest teammate," he explained later. "If you played a proper pass, you'd get it back properly." To this day, no one has played more proper passes than Beckenbauer in the history of football.

Raphael Honigstein

Raphael Honigstein is ESPN FC's German football expert and a regular guest on ESPN FC TV. He also writes for the Guardian, among other outlets, and is author of Englischer Fussball.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.