Franz Beckenbauer’s nickname during his playing days was “The Emperor”, and he earned that moniker by performing valiantly during three World Cups for Germany. He won one World Cup as a player (1974), and is one of only two men to also win one as a manager (1990). His unparalleled technique and vision makes him an easy choice for the Best XI.
In fact, Beckenbauer was actually named to the World Cup Best XI in all three of the tournament’s he played in. His first World Cup came in 1966, and he played so well he was gifted with the Best Young Player Award, though his squad settled for second. In 1970, he was again impressive, but Germany ended up finishing third that year.
In 1974, Beckenbauer would not be denied his World Cup title though. He made the Netherlands’ style of “total football” look more like “total crap”. His determination and leadership would be the essential ingredient in Germany’s recipe to best their international rivals. His performance in 1974 wasn’t just good, or even superb. It was flawless.
Like Bobby Moore, Beckenbauer also ended his career in America. His final club squad was the New York Cosmos of the now-defunct NASL. Also like Moore, Beckenbauer’s best soccer was behind him by the time he arrived in the US. But, he was the most individually honored WC defender ever, so he belongs in the back for the all-time Best XI.