The defender is a devotee in Germany because of his unreasonable approach to football, but now finds himself behind bars
The Brazilian military police special unit receives tips from anonymous sources. As a result, they surveyed a white truck and searched, finding exactly what they expected: almost 800 kg of marijuana. Three men were arrested.
One of them is Marcelo Pletsch, a former Bundesliga players who are already in line Borussia Monchengladbach and Kaiserslautern. His transportation company owns a truck and Brazilian media reports claim he is the head of a drug dealer gang.
It was November 2015 and Pletsch was arrested. Less than a year later, a judge sentenced him to nine years and two years in prison. Pletsch protested and continued to claim that he was innocent, but the decision was not changed.
At 23, he has moved from Portuguese club DF to Oliveira German to join Gladbach in 1999. He had a Brazilian passport but the German name as his great-grandparents came from the Rhineland, specifically the small towns of Jettenbach and Schwedelbach. The distance from Sugar Loaf Mountain to Copacabana is as far as Pletsch’s playing style is from his famous compatriot Ronaldinho, Ronaldo or Rivaldo.
Instead of being a technical player, Pletsch always played with steel determination. He is a simple, uncompromising soccer player who has never been afraid to do hard tackles. His debut for Gladbach was disappointing: the 2-1 defeat to Alemannia Aachen where he was substituted in the first round for the club’s current sporting director Max Eberl. At that time, they occupied the lowest position in the second division, after being relegated from the Bundesliga a few months earlier.
Thanks to Pletsch, who bounced back and struggled to the usual starting place, Foals turned things around and just missed the promotion. A year later, in 2001, Pletsch and Gladbach were in the Bundesliga. He became a cult figure in Germany, mainly because he did not play like a traditional Brazilian footballer.
Hans Meyer, one of his trainers at Gladbach, once said that Doppelpass about him: “He can’t play football.” But the fact that the coaches rely on a very limited center back illustrates how powerful a Pletsch fighter is.
Pletsch played a total of 150 competitive matches in his six years with Borussia, and fans still regard him affectionately even though his departure from the club still leaves a sour feeling.
Head coach Dick Advocaat put him early in the second half of the 2004-05 season and then forced him to look for reserves at the fifth level when the defender complained of his lack of playing time. When he was given another chance after being brought against Bochum, he put the Foals ahead with an own goal at the last minute. This caused sporting director Christian Hochstatter to explode.
“I heard a player say: ‘May we lose 4-0 and then the coach and sporting director disappear.’ “Then I saw Pletsch involved in two goals against Bochum. You have to protect the club from people like that,” said Hochstatter ZDF. Pletsch was suspended and the match proved to be the last for the club. After he left, he replied: “Hochstatter is a left-wing snake – and Borussia has become a slum club!”
He later admitted that he regretted those words, said 11Freunde: “I was very angry at the time, that was true.”
“Now I know that I overreacted,” he explained, before attacking once more. “There aren’t enough players who can survive the relegation battle. Fighters type. Guys with the ball.”
In the summer of 2005, Pletsch moved to Kaiserslautern. In the first half of the season he was a regular player, but in the second half he hardly played at all. In the end, he was relegated with the team and left the Bundesliga. Then, he will say: “There is no place as good as in Germany.”
After Germany, he played for Panionios in Greece, Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus and Vojvodina Novi Sad in Serbia. Ewald Lienen, who knew him from Gladbach, wanted to bring him back to join Arminia Bielefeld. “Unfortunately the request came two days before the transfer window closed, so my club was rather upset and administrative matters could not be resolved on time.”
In 2011, Pletsch hung his boots and opened a pig farm near his birthplace in Toledo, in the southwest of the United States Brazil near the Paraguay border. It is unknown how successful the business was, but only four years later his truck was confiscated by the police.
Pletsch has served almost three and a half years, spending most of her sentence in the notorious Cascavel State Prison, which often makes headlines because of the prisoner revolt. He could be released on parole for good behavior in January 2022, and will be released in February 2025 if he is serving a full sentence.
The 23 Borussia Monchengladbach fans who founded Marcelo-Pletsch-Fussballgott-Fanclub (MPFF) might be relieved. As they wrote correctly about the former cult soccer player: “MP is someone who would rather work to boot the ball away rather than become a regular at a tannery or have a pedicure – in short, he’s one of us – no talent football but with a lion’s heart! “
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