“I AM DEEPLY DISTRAUGHT” – Weah Eulogizes Beckenbauer, Zagallo

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I am deeply distraught by the passing of one of football’s greatest players, Franz Beckenbauer of Germany, who died on Monday, January 8, at the age of 78. Before retiring from the beautiful game, Beckenbauer played for his national side, earning more than a hundred caps, as well as the club side Bayern Munich. I was greatly impacted by his legendary story of winning the World Cup both as a player and coach. He became an inspiration and a mentor when I first set out to play for various European club teams. He demonstrated his humanity and generosity during the Liberian civil war by contributing to my effort to support the national team, including donating a container load of football materials through Adidas, based on an appeal I made to him. I was fortunate to have worked with him during my years with FIFA as a member of the Football Committe in his twilight years  Beckenbauer was a towering figure and a legend whose passing is an irreplaceable loss not just to his family and the people of German, but for all of us football lovers who have come to appreciate his good works. He will be missed. I am equally saddened by the passing of another Legend, Mario Zagallo of Brazil, who died recently at the age of 92. He helped Brazil win its first World Cup in 1958 and later couched the star-studded team that featured King Pele. May his soul rest in peace.

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