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2013-02-27T09:09:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:13:13

Der Kaiser pays his tribute

Few players in the history of world football can be considered as equals to the great Bobby Moore.

Franz Beckenbauer is one of those players.

Just like his English contemporary, Beckenbauer enjoyed a glittering career with Bayern Munich and West Germany, earning a reputation for being the greatest defender his country has ever produced.

Like Moore, he lifted the FIFA World Cup as his country's captain, doing so on home turf in 1974, before repeating the feat as a manager in 1990 - becoming the first individual to complete that amazing double.

Throughout his career 'Der Kaiser' - 'The Emperor' - regularly came up against West Ham United and England's greatest centre-half, most notably at the 1966 and 1970 FIFA World Cup finals and later in the North American Soccer League.

As players and as human beings, the pair developed a deep respect and friendship. Twenty years after Moore's passing, Beckenbauer still holds his old adversary in the highest possible esteem.

"If you play football as long as I did, even internationally, you get to know a lot of footballers. But only a few become true friends and even remain so after your career has ended. Bobby was such a friend. As a footballer he was great and as a person loveable."

"Bobby was one of the best players in the history of football. He was the captain of the team which won the major title for England in 1966 at the World Cup in their own country.

"He was an exceptionally gifted player and a true leader on the field, because he was a personality with charisma and he was able to motivate his teammates.

"His particular strength was his intuition. Thus he had an incredible positional play."

The two legends enjoyed their greatest battle in the FIFA World Cup final at Wembley in July 1966. There, 25-year-old Moore captained England to victory over a West Germany side that included the 20-year-old Beckenbauer in central midfield.

Despite his country's defeat - and the controversy surrounding whether or not England's third goal crossed the line - Beckenbauer admits England deserved their 4-2 win and Moore to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.

"You will never forget such a game. However, today the dramatic is very difficult to explain. England certainly deserved to win, although it is unclear still today - and probably will never be answered - if the third goal was one indeed.

"Anyway, England has rightly become world champions."

It would not be the final time the pair would meet at international level.

In 1970, Moore's England raced into a 2-0 lead over West Germany in the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals in Mexico, only for Beckenbauer's side to stage a dramatic comeback to secure a 3-2 win.

Two years later, the pair met as captains in the UEFA European Championship quarter-finals. West Germany were again victorious, winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Finally, in 1978, 37-year-old Moore and his Seattle Sounders faced 32-year-old Beckenbauer's New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League.

The pair were joined by Brazil greats Pele and Carlos Alberto, England internationals Rodney Marsh and Trevor Francis, Wales defender Mike England and West Ham goalkeeper Phil Parkes as attempts were made to make 'soccer' popular in the United States.

Beckenbauer believes their presence helped pave the way for the modern-day success of the MLS.

"Bobby and I played a few times against each other. It's true that Bobby, Pele, a few others and I were pioneers of football at that time.

"I think that we have contributed some things that helped football made the gap in the USA and it has become increasingly popular."

Unfortunately, of course, Moore is no longer with us, having passed away in February 1993 at the age of 51.

Now 67, Beckenbauer spoke at the memorial service held four months later at Westminster Abbey - an experience he will never forget.

"After Bobby's death, I experienced one of the most touching moments of my life. His memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey. Every seat was occupied and everybody of distinction was present.

"I was asked to read from the Bible during the funeral ceremony in the pulpit. I was terribly humbled - it was a great honour to say 'Goodbye' to Bobby in this way."

*This article originally appeared in the 100-page Commemorative Programme for Monday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur. Fifty pence from every issue sold will be donated to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. To buy your copy now, click here.

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