Home » Maurizio Gaudino: From Gottschalk’s sofa straight into custody

Maurizio Gaudino: From Gottschalk’s sofa straight into custody

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Maurizio Gaudino: From Gottschalk’s sofa straight into custody

The criminal file of Maurizio Gaudino (57) at the Mannheim district court can no longer be found. The reason could have been water damage, which made a number of documents unusable, explains an employee upon request. But the past of the former German national soccer player cannot be forgotten so quickly.

In 1996, Gaudino was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years, and a fine of 180,000 marks for car stealing and insurance fraud.

December 14, 1994: Gaudino, under contract with Eintracht Frankfurt, made another big appearance that evening. This time not on the football field, but on the sofa in the RTL late-night show hosted by talk show host Thomas Gottschalk (73). He chats about his life alongside Ice Princess Katarina Witt (58). He also does a tango dance routine with the Olympic champion on rollerblades. The mood couldn’t be better.

1993: Gaudino (l.) and the also technically gifted Uwe Bein in the Eintracht jersey

Source: picture alliance/press photo Rudel/Herbert Rudel

But then the shock. The spotlights are on and the credits are still rolling when Gaudino is arrested by police officers in front of the Munich film studios that night. Apparently because of the risk of escape. The arrest warrant was issued two days earlier – on Gaudino’s 28th birthday.

Gottschalk’s flippant comment

Gottschalk commented on the incident flippantly with the following sentences: “The usual way is to first get arrested and then go on a talk show. It’s also new to me that it’s going the other way around.”

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However, Gaudino doesn’t feel like laughing. He is remanded in custody for one day. The accusation from the Mannheim public prosecutor’s office is: gang stealing, incitement to fraud and faking a crime. In at least three cases, the Mannheim police explain in a statement, “Gaudino is said to have contributed to luxury cars being wrongly reported as stolen and the corresponding insurance sums subsequently being paid out in at least two cases.” It was 200,000 marks.

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During the night, Gaudino makes no statement. The next morning he is driven from Munich to Mannheim for questioning. In an Audi 100, Gaudino sits between two officers so that he cannot escape. The subsequent interrogation lasts six hours.

In the 1990s, reserve benches in the Bundesliga looked different than they do today

Quelle: picture alliance/dpa/Oliver Berg

After his arrest, Gaudino received legal advice from four lawyers. One of them was Horst Kletke, an acquaintance of the professional who also worked for the VdV players’ union at the time. The television station RTL, where Gaudino was arrested, got Roland Hasl from Munich.

Gaudino met Heiner Lauterbach

Thanks to the help of Katarina Witt, Heinz Düx also gets involved. The defense attorney successfully represented the former figure skater when Stasi allegations came up against her. The fourth legal advisor is Wilhelm Barabas, an employee of Düx. After Gaudino explains himself to the judge about all the allegations and makes a partial confession, he is released. The investigation continues.

In his free time, Gaudino enjoyed hanging out in his restaurant in Mannheim and with TV star Heiner Lauterbach. Gaudino even filmed the ZDF five-part series “The Shadow Man” with the actor and got a supporting role.

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The star was now unpopular at Eintracht Frankfurt because he had a dispute with his coach Jupp Heynckes (78) in the fall of 1994 and was transferred to the youth team as a penalty. Nevertheless, he became a cult figure among fans. They sang to the tune of “Eviva España”: “The sun shines day and night, Maurizio Gaudino! And no one knows how he does it, Maurizio Gaudino! Who steals cars at night? Maurizio Gaudino! And no one knows how he does it, Maurizio Gaudino!”

“Gaudino, are you really that stupid?”

A few days later he fled to England to Manchester City – because of his difficult sporting situation and all the headlines after his arrest. Germany asked itself what Gaudino is: a little “car pusher” (“Münchner Abendzeitung”), a “hoodlum” (“Hamburger Morgenpost”) or even a “gangster” (BILD)? The “Express” headline: “Gaudino, are you really that stupid?”

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How could the football star end up in such a situation? His foster father Klaus Schlappner (83), who trained him at Waldhof Mannheim and under whom he made his Bundesliga debut on September 8, 1984 in Braunschweig (1-0), says: “Maurizio Gaudino is not someone who is a criminal by nature core had. He wanted to stand by good friends, which was absolutely wrong. He was a young lad back then and lacked experience.”

German champion 1992: Gaudino with Alexander Strehmel

Source: picture alliance/Pressefoto Baumann/R4032

In order to be able to classify the statement correctly, you have to know: Gaudino, son of an Italian guest worker from Naples, grew up in Mannheim-Rheinau. The district is considered a social hotspot. There he learned to kick on the streets. He went to school there. He later had numerous friends and acquaintances there – even though he had long been a prominent footballer, with VfB Stuttgart being a key player who became German champions in 1992.

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Gaudinos Hang zu Ferraris

Gaudino was considered a fine technician, whom former national coach Berti Vogts (77) took with him to the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Off the pitch, he had a penchant for fast cars – especially models from the luxury Ferrari brand. Gaudino, who began an apprenticeship as a motor vehicle mechanic after school, liked to boast in the cabin that he could cover the route from Stuttgart to Munich in the red speedster at night in under an hour. A distance of 230 kilometers.

“I was labeled a pimp,” he once said himself. Because he wore long hair, earrings, gold chains and leather jackets. At the sentencing on January 31, 1996, Gaudino appeared in a jacket and a tie. He tried to correct his image. During the trial, his lawyers fought for a lenient sentence. There could hardly be any talk of enrichment, they argued. Back then, Gaudino would have earned 500,000 marks a year net.

Gaudino today

Source: picture alliance/press photo Rudel/Robin Rudel

However, the Mannheim District Court considered it proven that Gaudino was said to have given friends tips and relevant contacts about insurance fraud in at least three cases during his time in Stuttgart, and in some cases collected low four-figure amounts. Judge Kämmerer spoke of “a big mess” during the meeting. In the end, Gaudino got away with a black eye – and didn’t end up in prison.

“It was a weight off my mind when I heard that I was getting off with a suspended sentence,” he said after the verdict was announced. The fine of 180,000 euros went to four drug treatment centers in the greater Mannheim area.

The text was written for the Sports Competence Center (WELT, SPORT BILD, BILD) and first published in SPORT BILD.

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