On a cold, damp autumn evening in the early 1990s, Franz Beckenbauer stood in the drafty foyer of the Munich Olympic Stadium. Bayern were playing some long-forgotten European Cup game; Beckenbauer had come from his adopted home in Tyrol, was wearing a black coat and was surrounded by people in thick jackets who were patting him on the back. He smiled pleasantly, nodded occasionally, shook hands, at some point the crowd around him dissolved and his smile disappeared.

We talked, he said: “My God, everyone wants something from me. I should be there for everyone. Always.” Then he shook his head, his gaze empty and rigid. Beckenbauer seemed unusually lost at this moment. Great days were behind him, others were still to come. It was just a few years after he led the German team to the 1990 World Cup title as team boss. And it would be more years before he brought the 2006 World Cup to Germany and the summer fairy tale was performed here. But that too would catch up with him later and break his heart.

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