Gedenkfeier Franz Beckenbauer. Bild Susanne Panhans

Thank you FRANZ
Memorial Ceremony for Franz Beckenbauer 19.01.2024
Allianz Arena München

THANK YOU, FRANZ

Memorial Ceremony for Franz Beckenbauer

Allianz Arena – Munich on January 19, 2024

Stephan Lehmann moderates the memorial ceremony for Franz Beckenbauer.

 

Herbert Heiner, President of FC Bayern,

welcomes the family, friends, Olaf Scholz, Markus Söder, Uli Hoeneß, all honored guests, representatives from
the federal and state governments, Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter, and many companions from around the world,
football enthusiasts, and fans who have gathered in large numbers at the

Allianz Arena for the memorial ceremony of Franz Beckenbauer.

“Franz Beckenbauer is no longer with us, and he will never be forgotten.”
“Franz Beckenbauer had many companions.”
“Franz would have been very pleased that so many people have come here. He might have been a bit surprised:
‘What, you’ve all come here because of me, that wasn’t necessary.’ Too much fuss about himself was never
entirely comfortable for him.”
Franz was a friend to everyone. He was always friendly, treated every person equally, and was always a helper
to his companions and fellow human beings.

The reactions of the press, whether in the country or abroad, speak for themselves.
Wreaths were laid by UEFA, FIFA, the president, the chancellor, and by 11 companions: Rainer Bonhof,
Andreas Brehme, Paul Breitner, Lothar Matthäus, Günther Netzer, Wolfgang Overath, Franz “Bulle” Roth,
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Georg Kutsche Schwarzenberg, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Berti Vogts, representing all of us.
The guests rise, and Jens Kaufmann, the tenor who has had a close connection to FC Bayern for many years,
sings an Italian opera: “Con te par tiro” “It’s time to say goodbye” for Franz Beckenbauer. Franz loved Italian opera.
“I will depart with you, I will relive the most beautiful moments with you, remember again what we have done together.”

 

Jens Kaufmann

sings this beautiful Italian opera with a lot of emotion; everyone in their hearts is deeply touched and visibly moved.
The walk onto the field for his close friends and companions is a very difficult one.

The sun is shining in the Allianz Arena, perfect weather. A sign from heaven. Just before the start
of the memorial ceremony, a larger group of doves flew in formation from the base of Franz Beckenbauer’s
image on the field and then ascended towards the honorary stand.
The Allianz Arena has 75,000 seats. 25,000 were reserved for the memorial ceremony. Around 30,000 guests
have come to bid farewell to Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer.
Guests like Joschka Fischer, Otto Schily, DFB Hans-Joachim Watzke, Bert Neuendorf, Julian Nagelsmann,
Rudi Völler, Oliver Kahn, Boris Becker, Thomas Häßler, Dieter Hoeneß, and more. Franz Beckenbauer,
a luminous figure in every respect, passed away at the age of 78 on January 7, 2024, after a long illness.
Franz was an extraordinary football player and luminous figure. When Franz entered a room, the sun would shine;
he was always in a good mood and always had a smile on his face.

We had the privilege of knowing him, a Munich native who became a global citizen. Franz never forgot
where he came from; every person was equal to him. This was instilled in him from an early age in his family,
especially at his mother Antonie’s kitchen table, where he often found himself as an adult. He lived these values always and everywhere, no matter where he was.
Possibly ahead of his time, a role model for all generations. Franz always remained the libero,
an eternal free spirit for whom the chalk lines of the playing field knew no bounds. Wherever
he appeared: “Franz brought the brilliance!” In his distinctive, easygoing manner. He showed us with impressive
ease that life is always a game.
So many always wanted something from him; everyone tugged at him, but Franz always made time for everyone,
treating each person equally. That was a gift, his gift, always having a kind word, always having an open ear for others.
And taking time for each other today is his legacy. Today, the world is a guest at FC Bayern Munich,
today the world is a guest at Franz’s.
The news of his death has shaken us all; the world, the entire world of FC Bayern Munich,
has become darker. For FC Bayern Munich, Franz Beckenbauer meant everything.
But Franz would also want us to look forward,
look forward with the impressions and countless images he left us. Franz firmly believed that
death is only a stage,
that he remains a part of us.

Dear Franz, this thought is comforting, that you are still with us. We were fortunate to experience a Kaiser era.
It is now up to us to continue this time.
His motto was always “Go out and play football.”
Let’s all continue this way, let’s go out and play in the spirit of Franz Beckenbauer. FC Bayern will always remain
an empire and that forever. This club grew together with Franz Beckenbauer. It became bigger, the world looked
up to it. But he never looked down on people.

“Franz, you were always one of us, one for all, we are Franz.”

 

Uli Hoeneß

Welcomes Heidi Beckenbauer, the honored guests, and the friends of FC Bayern Munich.
Uli Hoeneß delivers a very moving speech, sharing his wish to play alongside Franz Beckenbauer and how that
would have been the ultimate for him. In 1970, Uli Hoeneß, along with Paul Breitner, signed a contract with
FC Bayern and got to know Franz Beckenbauer. The team had just returned from the World Cup in Mexico,
and Uli pondered: How do I approach Franz now, what do I say? Franz approached Uli and said, “I am Franz,”
and that’s how he was. “He was always a person who was humble and never played the big shot.
He was always a teammate who offered help.”

“When I didn’t know where to pass the ball on the field, with Franz, it was always safe.”
“He had the ability to play with both left and right feet; he didn’t think about it at all.” “And when Franz had the ball
in his midfield position, I wasn’t a great technician, but fast, I would ‘take off.’ And when Franz then placed
the ball in my run with his large instep, something often came out of it,” Uli Hoeneß recounts.
“We played together for many years, won a lot together, but we also lost a game or two. But from Franz,
one could learn not only on the football field but also in life. Anyone who thinks he only lived off his talent,
off his ability to play football, is very mistaken.”

“Franz was extremely hardworking, a superb professional, never late, and every evening, he was the
last to leave Säbener Straße because he still wanted a massage from our masseur Josip Saric.
He was a superb professional, could play on the right and left, was fast, and a good header. Until the end,
he talked about losing 50% of his hair in the ’74 World Cup final because we couldn’t drive the
Dutch out of our half, and he had to single-handedly combat the entire attacking wave with Sepp,
Catsche, and Berti Vogts.” and he had to single-handedly combat the entire attacking wave.

What we always liked about Franz was his ability to care for others. He was our captain.
If you had a problem, you went to Franz; he went to Schwan, the former manager, and he advocated
for us. That was one of his most important qualities, caring for others. Franz was generous.
The worst thing for a person was to go to a restaurant or a parking garage with him and give a tip.
You always embarrassed yourself because Franz was endlessly generous.

When Gerd Müller didn’t feel well after his America tour, he immediately came to me and said,

“Uli, we have to take care of Gerd.” He was always there for others. He didn’t bow up and kick down,

but the other way around.
A truly great person has left us. A young man from Giesing became a global citizen, a cosmopolitan.

Franz Beckenbauer was a player who, with elegance and impressive ease, showed us that life is a game,

 and he always remained the libero, acting responsibly.
We had the privilege of knowing him; he always had a kind word, always an open ear for others.
When he went to America to play soccer with the Cosmos, he became a global citizen. But he also
 mastered
this challenge, like everything in life, wonderfully.
Everything he did, whether becoming vice president at Bayern, becoming president, becoming the
national team coach, or even the coach at FC Bayern, at first he said, “Well, I won’t do that.
” But when he did it, it was always with meticulousness and the diligence that one would never
have expected from a person endowed with so many talents.
But his masterpiece was bringing the World Cup to Germany. He worked his butt off for years,
traveled to the farthest corners of the world to garner votes for a German bid. In the year 2000,
fortunately, we became German champions because the people from Unterhaching supported u
s so incredibly against Leverkusen.
On that day, it was night for him on the Fiji Islands; Franz walked around the hotel corridor in his
underwear at 4:00 am and sang in front of Franz Blatter’s room, “Stand up if you’re for Bayern.”
And when the World Cup was finally ours, I had a special experience with him. We are in one
of the most beautiful
stadiums in the world, the Allianz Arena. It would never have been built if Franz hadn’t brought
the World Cup to Germany.

And all of us in Germany can be proud that, on average, we have the most
beautiful and modern stadiums in the world. And this is only because we were allowed
to host the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Back then, we had to find a sponsor, and I had
a meeting with the CEO of Allianz, Dr. Schulte-Noelle. Someone told me,
“Yes, he will be very nice, he will listen, but he has little time, and he will probably
politely decline after two or three weeks.” I thought, well, I don’t need that. So, I asked Franz,
“Can you drive with me to Königinstraße to Allianz?” Yes, of course, he was with me.
We arrived there, and on the 4th floor, not only Dr. Schulte-Noelle but the entire board of
Allianz was assembled.
We didn’t just talk for 20 minutes but for two hours. And just before the end, Franz said,
“Can I say something too?” “Yes.” “You all can be glad that I quit as an apprentice at Allianz.
Otherwise, I would be here today. And maybe not you.” The people in the stadium are excited
and applaud! I wanted to sink under the table because I thought it was all over. It took
about 10 seconds, then there was hearty laughter, and the ice was broken. Mr. Schulte-Noelle
took us to the elevator, and for anyone who has been to Königinstraße, it’s a small elevator
where only 3 people fit, he accompanied us to the door. Back then, I knew this thing was a
done deal, and what we are experiencing is this beautiful Allianz Arena. When the World Cup started,
the summer fairy tale, Herbert Grönemeyer would have sung, “Franz, you brought the sun to our country.”

Franz, you contributed to many foreign citizens having a different view of our country. The openness
and friendliness our country can exhibit were impressively demonstrated by the 2006 World Cup.
Who still remembers or knows how many hundreds, thousands drove through the streets in our
country with the black, red, and gold flag because they were proud of our country. My esteemed ladies
and gentlemen, we need to return to a time when everyone is proud of our country.
There is loud applause, and the people agree wholeheartedly with Uli Hoeneß.
“But I want to emphasize clearly that I don’t want the AfD to be part of this process.”

When the World Cup was over, it felt like Franz’s lucky charm, which had accompanied him so often,
was quite empty. Then difficult years began for him. I remember the death of Stephan, his son,
who was a youth player and then a youth coach for us. I recall the unspeakable media campaign,
which some narrow-minded individuals, up to his death last week, believed they had to continue
. I always wished Franz, during his lifetime, to receive even more recognition and respect,
and after his death, no hypocrisy. Unfortunately, this did not fully materialize.
I believe, dear Franz, you have been gone for twelve days now. And to be honest, I miss you very much.
Rest in peace, a peace that you unfortunately could not enjoy in the last few years as you deserved.
Thank you very much.

Everyone in the stadium stands up and applauds. Uli Hoeneß leaves the stage visibly saddened.
A film is played by Franz Beckenbauer and his family. Also surviving are his four children Thomas,
Michael, Francesca, and Joel.
Everyone agrees: “The way he was as an athlete, as a person, is unique.” Bastian Schweinsteiger.
“Yes, if it weren’t so sad that Franz has left us, it would have been simply beautiful to see everyone again.
It just shows how great the personality, the footballer, the person Franz Beckenbauer was.” Philipp Lahm.
“I met him sometimes; we talked briefly about football, but he always said very intelligent things,
and I always kept that in mind and now use it with my team; it’s very nice.” Mark van Bommel.
“Franz Beckenbauer had a huge influence on my life, on my career, and that’s why I wanted to be here.

I come from England because Franz Beckenbauer was unique, as a player, as a coach, as an
ambassador for Germany. Every time we saw him after such a game in the locker room, he
always had a glow in his eyes and was grinning like that. He was always likable, and that’s why
I believe Franz was unique.” Owen Hargreaves.

“He was an amazing person, and I believe the greatest sports personality in Germany.”
Hasan Salihamidzic.
“I came to football with a friend of mine who didn’t know much about it. He asked me,
‘Who is that, walking so elegantly?’ I said, ‘That’s the one who dances with the ball.
Franz Beckenbauer walks like Nureyev dances.” Otto Rehhagel.
“Franz is the foundation, the basis of FC Bayern. Franz was a person you could talk to, ask questions.
And he deserves that; I am very proud to be invited.” Jean-Marie Pfaff.

“Franz Beckenbauer is the iconic figure, the idol of all of us, several generations who experienced
him as a player, as a coach, as the organizer of the World Cup, and as an incredibly friendly person.
He shaped German football and made FC Bayern great.” Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder.

“He was also a big skiing fan, attended some of my races, even major ones.
For example, at the Ski World Championships in Garmisch or in Schladming, he was there as a guest
and cheered me on. It was very touching and moving; I had to hold back a tear now and then, and yes,
an absolutely dignified farewell.” Maria Höfl-Riesch.

“Always incredibly approachable, friendly to everyone with a certain charm. When you looked behind
the scenes, you could also see that it was hard work for him. That he was very determined and
success-oriented. You felt that at the 2006 World Cup, where he was the organizer.” Oliver Bierhoff.

“He made me the second youngest national player at 18 years old after Uwe Seeler; we became
world champions, we became German champions. What set him apart, I believe, is the special
gift of treating everyone as he himself would like to be treated.” Olaf Thon.

“Uli Hoeneß got to me, really spoke from the heart, and tears came out, yes.” Pierre Littbarski.

We played against each other at the beginning, and I already had to look up to him.
Then we played together, and even then, I looked up to him, and then he was my coach,
and I had no choice but to look up too high. But I gladly did it. “Because Franz Beckenbauer
was indeed an outstanding leader.” Felix Magath.

“Today was a very sad occasion, but still, it connects so much beauty, or people connect so much
good with Franz, and that’s actually the beautiful part. And we all had the privilege of getting to know him.
“And when you see how many people have come here today, for Franz, that’s very nice.” Bastian Schweinsteiger.

At the end of the memorial service, five doves sat at the foot of Franz Beckenbauer’s stage.
They took off, circled the stage once, and then perched for a few moments just above the stage
on the edge of the Allianz Arena’s roof. After a few minutes, they flew away, one by one.

A great person with radiant greatness has left us.

My sincere condolences to the Beckenbauer family, all companions of Franz, and all fans of FC Bayern.

Warm regards, Susanne Panhans

Image and texts copyright by Susanne Panhans

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