Saying goodbye to Franz Beckenbauer, an untouchable icon in the world of football.

Estimated read time 5 min read

Another iconic figure departs.

Creating a dream team of the best male football players can be an enjoyable or tedious task, depending on whether you choose to share your choices online. While some positions may be up for discussion, this email is too brief to dive into that debate. However, there are six players who are undisputed picks: Lev Yashin, Paolo Maldini, Diego Maradona, Leo Messi, Pelé, and Franz Beckenbauer. They are known as The Untouchables or The Non-Negotiables, although their nickname is not quite as catchy. These six players are essential to any Greatest XI and cannot be left out. Unfortunately, other great players such as Cruyff, CR7, R9, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Di Stéfano, Puskas, Charlton, and others will have to fit around them. And sorry, Zizou cannot be a defensive midfielder.

Beckenbauer is the greatest centre-back of all time. Those in England will shout for Bobby Moore, and in Italy there will be calls for Franco Baresi. But they are just contenders, understudies, sous chefs. Beckenbauer could cook, alright, combining Franco Baresi’s longevity, Moore’s intelligence, Koeman’s goals, Nesta’s bravery (playing the extra time of the 1970 World Cup semi-final against Italy – widely known as the ‘Match of the Century’ – with a dislocated shoulder and an arm in a sling), Ramos’s aggression into one extremely sentient being that elevated both Bayern Munich and West Germany to the top of the sport.

He earned the Ballon d’Or award twice in 1972 and 1976. He also achieved success with West Germany in the European Championship and won three consecutive Big Cups with Bayern in the 1970s. Throughout his career, he won five German league titles in three different decades and is one of just three players to have both won the World Cup as a player and managed a team to victory. When he first joined Bayern, they were not even allowed to compete in the newly-formed Bundesliga. However, through his roles as a player, manager, and later a behind-the-scenes figure, he helped transform the team into a global powerhouse. It could be argued that no other individual has had a greater impact on a single club.

It’s possible that things could have turned out very differently. As a young boy, Beckenbauer was close to joining 1860 Munich, Bayern’s rival team. However, during a game in 1958, when he was playing for SC 1906 as a striker against 1860, he got into a disagreement with defender Gerhard König who tried to slap him. This incident made Franz change his mind about joining 1860 and instead, he joined Bayern. In a 2010 interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk, Beckenbauer and König reflected on how it was fate that brought them together and allowed him to become a member of Bayern rather than 1860. Ultimately, this worked in Bayern’s favor and the rest is now history.

The Emperor, aged 78, has passed away. There will be no replacement. Death comes for all, even those thought to be immortal. In his later years, Beckenbauer faced health problems and was accused of involvement in corruption related to the 2006 World Cup. However, he is now cleared of all charges and can live freely once more.


Follow along with Rob Smyth as he provides live updates every minute during the first leg of the Milk Cup semi-final between Middlesbrough and Chelsea, with the score currently at 1-2.

“Today’s quote is…”

“I found myself shedding tears without any specific reason almost every day. They seemed to come involuntarily, perhaps building up over a long period of time. In a sense, it wasn’t the present me crying, but the younger version of myself, mourning for all the validation he never received.” – Thierry Henry reveals his battles with mental health and depression throughout his professional career.

An Arsenal fan shows their support for Thierry Henry at the home match against West Ham in December.

TOP 100

We are starting our countdown of the top 100 female football players in the world for 2023, beginning with music cue “Pick of the Pops” for numbers 100-71.

Lineth Beerensteyn, Alyssa Thompson and Kyra Cooney-Cross are part of our top 100.


According to Noble Francis, as famously stated by Danny Baker, bookmakers have six tills for incoming payments and only one for payouts in order to cover expenses like this.

I am grateful that you mentioned yesterday’s incredible scene from Pulp Fiction in which the main characters narrowly avoid being shot (as discussed in yesterday’s Football Daily). However, I was disappointed to see you describe the ensuing conversation as a “philosophical debate.” In reality, Vincent accurately refers to it as a theological one. As a theology professor, I often use this scene to illustrate the conflicting perspectives on miracles to my students. And as a theologian, it frustrates me when my field is mislabeled. It’s like José Mourinho shouting at the referees – I have lost my composure and am shouting at you. – George Ferzoco.

Please email your letters to [email protected]. Our chosen recipient for the prizeless letter of the day is George Ferzoco.

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