MUNICH: Franz Beckenbauer is recovering in hospital in southern Germany after undergoing open heart bypass surgery at the weekend.

The bypass operation, which is reported to have been successful and lasted several hours, had been scheduled for some time. However the precise timing meant the man still considered probably Germany’s greatest footballer had to cancel a promotion event at short notice on Friday.

Beckenbauer, 70, has endured a difficult past 12 months including the death from cancer of his son, Stephan.

Since last summer Beckenbauer has been under pressure over what he knew or did not know about the secret transfer of funds to and from the 2006 German World Cup operation. He had been president of the both the bid and then organising committees.

Last week his home in Salzburg was searched by the Austrian police.

Officers had been acting on a request from the Swiss authorities who have placed Beckenbauer and three former DFB colleagues under notice of criminal investigation over allegations of “fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and embezzlement.”

It is not known how long Beckenbauer will remain in hospital.

Earlier this year Gunter Netzer, Beceknabuer’s former World Cup and European Championship-winning team-mate, underwent emergency heart surgery.

Beckenbauer – who led West Germany to World Cup success as both captain in 1974 and manager in 1990 – has admitted to making mistakes over the 2006 World Cup scandal but has denied wrongdoing.