What is certain is that Basler’s autobiography “Eigentlich bin ich ein super Typ” causes excitement. Just like he used to do all his life. An epitome of the “genius to drop”. Half of the people hate him, the other half like him. But deep down, Basler is a person who, as the title of his book puts it, “Actually, I’m a great guy.”
“Most of the time I play the lead role”
The amateurs play in the district league and live their lives, with beer, hot dogs, cigarettes after the game. Not flattery to please others. Like Basler.
But Basler is also different from them, because he is a professional footballer, and playing football is not just his private affair. Basler’s mix of amateurs and professionals makes it difficult for owners to adapt to his lifestyle.
“Football is like theatre, and most of the time I play the lead role.” Basler likes coaches to let him do that. Bayern coach Hitzfeld did not dare to ban him from smoking. His favorite coach is Rehhagel, to whom he dedicates an entire chapter in the book, explaining that “The game starts at 3:30pm and ends at 5:15pm, and after that, you can do whatever you want.”
Basler’s story begins in the city of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, in the family of a postal worker mother and a mechanic father. At the age of 5, Mario started as a goalkeeper. But his right foot that knows how to kick corners straight into the goal soon caught the eye of the scouts.
His father is an important role model for him. Only towards the end of the story does Basler reveal that he cut off contact with both his parents two years before his father’s death. Basler’s career was not a pre-planned choice. At the age of 24, he just played his first match in the Bundesliga. After several years as an apprentice at Kaiserslautern, the club did not want to sign him professionally, the young man from Neustadt shouted at them: “Then you can kiss my ass”.
Rot Weiss Essen is a hard-working club and doesn’t have much time for senior technicians. Next, Basler went to Hertha Berlin. The atmosphere of West Berlin is so charming, after each game he goes first to the casino and then to the brothel, “just to try the spirits offered there, of course.” Former East Germany national team coach Bernd Stange turns Basler He became the fastest sprinter on the team thanks to a hard training regimen, but Stange couldn’t change his laziness to run.
During the 1992/93 season, Super Mario performed a magic trick on the field and after the game suddenly found himself peeing in the urinal next to Werder Bremen coach Rehhagel. They exchange phone numbers. The following season, Basler went to Bremen, where the “sloppy genius” developed into one of Germany’s best midfielders. In the 1994/95 season, Basler also became the Bundesliga’s top scorer, although he played as a right winger, including 2 goals scored directly from the corner.
Not compatible with the national team
In 1994, Basler went to the United States to attend the World Cup. His teammates call him “Ro-Mario”. But for him, it was an award where “the atmosphere was absolutely goddamn”. The players were distracted by the sporadic fights within the team, between personalities like those of Matthaus, Klinsmann, Effenberg. Basler himself had to sit on the bench and play the offended.
When he sunbathe in the Chicago sun, his wife became pregnant with their second child. She called him to say that the baby’s heartbeat was not good, Basler decided to fly home immediately. His daughter saw the light of day when he watched the national team on television. He wanted to return to the US to play again, but Germany was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
The national team and Basler are not compatible with each other. Euro 1996, during a practice match, he fell to the ground, screaming in pain. His ankle was swollen, Basler didn’t play a minute, there was no reason to stay. But he still managed to amuse himself while sitting sad in England, with alcohol and cigarettes. Players are allowed to have sex during the tournament. The injured German team that year still won the championship.
In 1995, Juventus was willing to pay 14 million D-Mark for Basler, but Director Lemke wanted another half million and the deal failed. A year later, the Bavarians benefited from the gamble, and Basler moved from Bremen to Bavaria. At this club called “FC Hollywood”, Matthaus and Klinsmann never reconciled, Italian coach Trapattoni said “I’m too tired to work as a nanny for these players”.
Coach Hitzfeld arrived, signed a contract to buy Effenberg from M’Gladbach, forming the “hell trio” Basler, Matthaus and Effenberg. Skepticism was inevitable, but at least for a while, Hitzfeld’s way of managing people was successful.
The Bild newspaper ran a front-page story on April 1, 1998, that Bayern hired a private detective to track down Basler. Some people thought it was a 1/4 joke, but Bayern confirmed it, even claiming it was a club employee and not a detective. Uli Hoeness, general manager, said: “Sometimes young people need to be taken care of, I don’t consider this an unusual measure.”
“I bring entertainment to the audience”
Hitzfeld’s team went to the 1999 Champions League final, against MU. Basler scored from a free-kick in the 6th minute. And then, in an unconventional way, he joined the defense, playing a superb game, until he was withdrawn in the 87th minute. Disaster struck. with the Germans when MU came back to win 2-1 in injury time.
Basler sucked on a cigarette sadly in the bathroom. And then fill the sadness with alcohol, climb up to the table in the pub and dance wildly. He learned to make up for disappointment as a young boy.
His father promised 5 DM if he scored every goal when he was a student. After 40 goals, a total of 200 DM, the father explained that it was too much, no more. Without motivation, that year, Basler still scored 76 goals.
Regarding the match at the Nou Camp, Basler did not blame himself much. He only blamed himself for refusing the “lifetime contract” that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge later offered. He demanded to be paid the same salary as captain Effenberg. Request denied. Bayern began to want to get rid of him. In October 1999, he and reserve goalkeeper Sven Scheuer were involved in a scuffle at a restaurant.
According to the report at the time, Basler was trying to balance a bottle of wine over his head while sitting in a chair stacked on top of a table. He then got angry when a customer took a photo of him. In the book, he explains, a diner teases Scheuer and he lives up to his name (Scheuer means shy), hitting the other guest. Basler stood up for his friend, but Hoeness didn’t believe him.
Basler has always been unrepentant. “I provide entertainment, and the audience wants to be entertained.” Such a person is difficult to become a successful coach. Basler tried and failed. He commented on television and participated in reality TV shows. Opening a bar is also his hobby and experience. A fortune of 15 million euros is enough for Basler to control his life.
With his first wife, Basler has a son Marcel and a daughter Alisa, born at the time of the 1994 World Cup. In 1995, he met his second wife Iris, they married in 1998 and have a son Maurice. In 2009, they divorced. Basler dated his girlfriend Doris Bueld from then until 2015 and then broke up. Then he met Jessica Paszka, through the reality show “Big Brother”.
In 2017, Basler returned to his ex-wife Iris, then broke up again 2 years later. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, Basler is now back with his girlfriend Doris.
Chinh Phong | 10:05 02/05/2023