Sports Nicknames - Der Kaiser



When one speaks of der Kaiser, they might think of Wilhelm II, last Kaiser of the German Empire. However, they might also be speaking about one of the greatest German football players of all time; Franz Beckenbauer.

The story about the legendary German soccer player Karl Franz Beckenbauer and his nickname Der Kaiser.The legendary defender played almost his entire career at Bayern Munich, playing as a sweeper from 1964-1977. In fact, he is often credited with creating the role known as the libero. Once done with Bayern, der Kaiser transferred to the New York Cosmos for 3 years, returned to Germany for Hamburger SV, before going back to New York for a final year as a player. He played with a certain style and grace that was not common among defenders for this time and had the freedom of the pitch at times.

His trophy cabinet is about as full as it can get. Der Kaiser captained West Germany to their 1974 World Cup victory and their 1972 European Championship triumph. On the club front, Bayern won 4 German league titles and 3 successive European Cups. Beckenbauer's individual honours are also a sight to be admired. He won the German Footballer of the Year 4 times and European Footballer of the Year twice.

Once retired, der Kaiser took up managing as a profession. He was quickly appointed boss of West Germany, where he took them to two successive World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990. While he lost the 86 final, he won the 1990 World Cup, making him one of three men to win it as both a player and coach.

While Beckenbauer's name has been sullied recently on account of FIFA corruption charges, it cannot be denied that der Kaiser is one of football's greatest.