Van Basten, as in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Marco van Basten He invested 20 million euros in a Dutch bank in 1999. In 2002, in the midst of the financial crisis, he was only 13. He took a risk and his gamble went wrong. In 2001, the Dutch Tax Agency demanded, in addition, 32.8 million euros in an imminent liquidation. His family couldn’t believe it. In his autobiographical book, entitled Fragile, my story, and edited by Corner, Van Basten narrates his financial problems, worthy, as he himself says, of the film The wolf of Wall Street.

Marco Van Basten (Utrecht, 1964) was one of the best players in the world during his spells at Ajax and Milan, in which he won the Ballon d’Or three times (1988, 1989 and 1992), six Leagues, two Cups of Europe, a Recopa, two Supercopas of Europe, two Intercontinental and the Eurocopa with Holland. However, such a sequence of sporting successes did not save him from a personal abyss: in 2001 he was on the brink of financial ruin.

A life full of sporting successes went wrong. First due to a persistent ankle injury that made him retire much earlier than expected, at just 29 years old. And, later, as a result of bad investments, overconfidence and ignorance in financial matters, it led him to consider looking for a job once he retired from the fields. He talks about all this in his biography.

“I feel like this is a good time to tell my story. From my perspective. Tell my truth. The story I have never told. In it I will be able to clarify some things. I will have no mercy on anyone. And, even less, of myself. The time has come ”, reflects the former Dutch footballer in the first pages of the book published by Córner, of the Roca Editorial group (in Catalan it comes out with Libros del Kultrum and Univers, and under the title Enough).

In the 318 pages, Van Basten reviews his childhood, his “blind desire” to want to be the best in the world; his relationship with his compatriot and legend Johan Cruyff, whom he replaced on the day he made his debut for Ajax; of course, his endless ankle injury; and unexpected financial problems.

“Mr. Van Basten is ordered to pay in full the present tax settlement of the Netherlands Tax Agency before December 31, 2001: 32.8 million euros,” read the letter from the Treasury that marked the beginning of difficulties for the former player orange. Van Basten later discovered that these originated from his return to the Netherlands from Monaco in 1998 and that it was a penalty of 100% plus interest.

“I did not understand why,” he acknowledges. Van Basten relied on his lawyer over Cor Coster, Johan Cruyff’s father-in-law, and on a large tax advisory society to avoid such problems, but nothing turned out as he expected.

A letter that coincided with the crisis at the beginning of the century, the attack on the Twin Towers and his investment in the bank. First he entered two million euros and, at the end of 1999, “everything”, more than 20 million, underlines in the book. In September 2002, he discovered that he only had 13 million left. The rest no longer existed, explains the player. They offered him to hang on and try to recover from the blow, but he chose to save his existing assets and start from scratch.

After an arduous journey and new people around him, Van Basten reached an agreement with the Treasury in 2005. “Has anyone seen The wolf of Wall Street? Later I understood that it was a bit like in that movie ”, recognizes the author of the beautiful and famous volley goal that gave the Netherlands the title of the European Championship in 1988 against the USSR.

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