Rewrite a Legend Toni Polster Celebrates 60th Birthday

Rewrite a Legend Toni Polster Celebrates 60th Birthday

Welcome to Stermann & Grissemann. Whether he’s a live guest on Servus TV’s Monday talk or the spotlight of an ORF documentary on Wednesday, Toni Polster is a man who’s always in the picture. It’s a testament to his popularity that TV producers were taken by surprise at the outpouring of sympathy when news of Polster’s emergency operation broke out. Despite being sometimes made fun of, and even being viewed as a washed-up model, Polster as a public figure continues to enjoy immense popularity. In his active days, however, he often experienced the opposite.

In 1987, when Polster was transferred from Austria to Torino, experts predicted that he would soon return to Austria out of regret. But Toni proved everyone wrong by immediately establishing his dominance over Italian defenders. His move to Seville further drew mockery, especially when he named his son Anton Jesus. However, Polster quickly became an icon among the Andalusians. They adored him for breaking the club’s shooting record with 55 shots, a feat that still earns him a place in the club’s hall of fame. A giant picture of him, along with soccer legends Diego Maradona and captain Ivan Rakitic, graces the entrance of Estadio Pizjuan. As for his son Anton Jesus, contrary to internet gossip, he is not a musician. “No no. At best, Toni plays on the field,” Toni Sr. humorously explains. “He works for EVN.”

Whenever the successful Polster returned to Austria for international matches, he was viewed with such disdain that in 1989, team boss Pepi Hickersberger did not dare to line him up against Iceland in Salzburg. Even on the eve of the qualifying decision against the GDR, Toni was mercilessly booed during the warm-up in Prater. However, he responded to the humiliation in the best way possible – by scoring three goals, leading Austria to a 3-0 victory and securing a place in the World Cup 90 in Italy. Instead of joining his teammates’ lap of honor, he went straight to the dressing room.

When Polster decided to move to Germany towards the end of his career, many thought that his scoring days were over due to his limited willingness to run. But once again, he proved everyone wrong. In Cologne, he became a cult figure both on and off the field, scoring 94 Bundesliga goals. He even formed a band called “Toni and the bar sluts”. Back home in Vienna, however, he had a bitter experience when Frank Stronach appointed him as Austria manager only to fire him soon after. Adding insult to injury, Stronach imposed a stadium ban on Polster over a trivial matter. No official dared to question Stronach’s decision for fear of losing their job. But Polster fought back, sued, and won in court.

As a coach, Polster struggled to replicate his playing success. However, his record as the highest international scorer remains unbroken. He has been coaching the third division team Wiener Viktoria for twelve years, showing rare loyalty. The club stands out for its charitable activities more than its sporting achievements. For instance, Polster had the Viktoria cabin cleared out in winter to provide shelter for the homeless. As the Eastern League spring began for Polster in Ardagger, he made it clear that he was not going to settle for chamomile tea in the Mostviertel. “I’m never on a diet.”

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