Franz Beckenbauer’s wife Heidi leads emotional tribute to late Germany legend at Euro 2024 opener between Scotland and hosts… after World Cup winner died aged 78 in January

  • Franz Beckenbauer’s wife heidi led tributes to the Germany legend in Munich
  • The Germany legend won the World Cup and Euros as a player and a manager 
  • LISTEN to It’s All Kicking Off! Why Euro 2024 could give us an ‘old school’ tournament once again 

Franz Beckenbauer’s wife Heidi led tributes to the late Germany legend ahead of the nation’s Euro 2024 opener against Scotland. 

The former World Cup and European Championship-winning captain died in January aged 78. 

Heidi was joined by Germany icons Bernard Dietz and Jurgen Klinsmann as she carried the Euros trophy on to the pitch. 

She fought back tears as pictures of her husband were displayed on the big screen and fans clapped at the Allianz Arena.   

Nicknamed ‘der Kaiser’, Beckenbauer is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time.

Franz Beckenbauer’s wife Heidi led the tributes to her late husband ahead of Germany’s match with Scotland

She was joined by Bernard Dietz (left) and Jurgen Klinsmann (right) as they carried the trophy on the pitch

She was joined by Bernard Dietz (left) and Jurgen Klinsmann (right) as they carried the trophy on the pitch

A tribute read: ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for football, we will never forget you.’

Beckenbauer’s health has gradually declined ever since his son Stephan died in 2015. Since then the iconic former player and manager had battled Parkinson’s disease, dementia, as well as undergoing heart operations.

He left behind his wife Heidi and his four children.

‘It is with deep sadness that we announce that husband and father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family,’ a statement read at the time.

‘We ask that you be able to mourn in silence and refrain from asking any questions.’

Beckenbauer was the West Germany captain when they won the 1972 Euros and the 1974 World Cup. 

He also managed them to glory at the 1990 World Cup against Argentina, gaining vengeance for defeat in the final four years prior.  

As a player he won four Bundesliga titles and three European cups with Bayern Munich, also representing Hamburg and New York Cosmos.

Fans applauded and photos of Beckenbauer were shown on the big screen at the Allianz Arena

Fans applauded and photos of Beckenbauer were shown on the big screen at the Allianz Arena

The Germany icon is one of three men to have won the World Cup as both player and manager

Beckenbauer, one of the greatest footballers ever, passed away in January at the age of 78

Beckenbauer, one of the greatest footballers ever, passed away in January at the age of 78

He was a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, an incredibly hard feat for a defender. 

Beckenbauer is in an exclusive club as he is one of only three men, including France manager Didier Deschamps and Brazilian icon Mario Zagallo, to have won a World Cup as a player and manager.

In 2019, in Bunte magazine, it was revealed that Beckenbauer, nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, had lost sight in one eye after competing in a golf tourament in his name – the Kaiser Cup.

‘I had a supposed ocular infection in one eye,’ he said.

‘Unfortunately, I can’t see anything with my right eye anymore. And I need to be careful with my heart.’

Beckenbauer had been at Stephan’s bedside when he died at the age of 46 after battling with a brain tumour, and the experience had a lasting – and deteriorating – effect on him.

Stephan’s death left Beckenbauer with regrets that he had concentrated too much on football, rather than family.

‘I was a bad father because I was never there,’ he said in a 2005 TV interview.

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