Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a former footballer for Internazionale and current chairman of Bayern Munich, has paid affable tribute to his longtime friend Franz Beckenbauer, in an interview with newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. Both Rummenigge and Beckenbauer have contributed to the distinguished legacy of the German national team and Bayern Munich over their careers.
A groundbreaking figure in the world of football, Beckenbauer left a lasting impact, according to Rummenigge. He shared, “What is the lesson he has left us with? Franz Beckenbauer was very modern, the first global football man. He donned all roles: player, coach, president, proving to be successful and good, on and off the field. A gentleman in every sense.”
Rummenigge warmly recalled his first encounter with Beckenbauer on joining Bayern Munich in 1974. He recalled walking into the locker room as an 18-year-old and introducing himself to Beckenbauer, to which the latter replied: “No problem. My name is Franz.”
Beckenbauer was no ordinary German player, according to Rummenigge. He possessed an exceptional blend of a Brazilian’s skill and an Italian’s tactics. This distinctive contribution helped elevate the reputation of German football beyond mere physical prowess, Rummenigge described.
Rummenigge also recalled the time he, alongside Uli Hoeness and Franz Beckenbauer, approached Giovanni Trapattoni to take over Bayern Munich’s coaching reins. After a jovial Italian meal at Trapattoni’s residence in Cusano Milanino, they all cheerfully agreed to the arrangement. “Franz said to me: ‘I don’t speak Italian, but I can tell that he is an extraordinary man, I would like to exchange many more words with him, but I am unable to get my point across,'” Rummenigge recounted.