In a historic and unprecedented event, the Ballon d’Or 1972, awarded to the best footballer in the world, has become an all-German affair. The prestigious trophy in 1972 went for the first time to Franz Beckenbauer, solidifying his status in the top pantheon of football. The choice by France Football to reward the authoritative and elegant Beckenbauer was hailed as a symbol for one of the strongest teams in history, who established a long-lasting period of success through their dynamic and powerful football.
Beckenbauer’s success was a close-run affair, winning by a mere two votes ahead of his national teammates, Gunter Netzer, the midfielder from Borussia Moenchengladbach, and Gerd Muller, the striker from Bayern Munich. While Netzer and Muller were undeniably remarkable athletes, the choice to bestow the award on Beckenbauer underlines the appreciation for an elegant and controlling presence in the game, a trademark of Beckenbauer.
Despite not winning the Ballon d’Or, Gerd Muller had an exceptional year. The formidable striker scored a total of 50 goals in 48 games during the season, 40 of which were scored in Bundesliga, more than enough to earn him the title of top scorer of the league. Muller also won the Golden Boot award as the best scorer in Europe. Commenting on Muller’s performance, sources from the football world quote: “Muller fills the eyes with that swarm of balls he throws into the nets.”
For the German national team, Muller was a force to be reckoned with, scoring twice in the final of the European Championship where the USSR was toppled with a 3-0 victory. Notably, in a match against the same team a month earlier, Muller had managed to score four goals, adding further to his impressive record in 1972. Despite the expectations, such an achievement doesn’t make news anymore, given Muller had managed to do the same later in that fabulous year against Switzerland.
In conclusion, while Johan Cruyff’s performance in the Champions League final, including his goals for Ajax against Inter, was noteworthy, 1972 was ultimately the year of German domination in football, marked by Franz Beckenbauer’s conquering of the Ballon d’Or.