Gascoigne recalls being swarmed by 8,000 FANS on a holiday to Italy
PAUL GASCOIGNE EXCLUSIVE: They still love me in Italy… 8,000 people appeared from nowhere when I popped into a mountain-top cafe! And Colin Hendry BEGS me to not mention the day I ruined him at Wembley!
- Paul Gascoigne has reflected on his career in Italy after signing for Lazio in 1992
- He was so popular in the country 8,000 fans came to see him while on holiday
- The legendary star also remembered ‘destroying’ Colin Hendry in 1996
- He chipped the Scotland star at Wembley before smashing home at the Euros
Paul Gascoigne has reflected on a ‘scary moment’ when returning to Italy for a holiday after his spell with Lazio – when 8,000 fans rushed to see him after catching wind he was in the area.
The legendary midfielder was a popular figure during his three-year spell in Rome and he decided to go back to the country around five years after he left the club – heading to the mountains for a quiet getaway – but his relaxing trip quickly became anything but after he bumped into a fan.
Speaking to BT Sport for their What I Wore series, Gascoigne recalled being ‘pestered’ by supporters – but hailed Lazio fans for always getting behind him during his time in the Italian capital and for giving him a brilliant reception when he signed from Tottenham back in 1992.
Paul Gascoigne has recalled being mobbed by 8,000 fans in Italy while returning on holiday
Gascoigne become a popular figure during his three years with Lazio from 1992 to 1995
‘It was 10,000 at the airport [when he first joined], quite nerve-wracking!’ he said.
‘You get used to stuff like that. The fans were fantastic, singing my name. I remember going [to Italy] once, I left the place and came back five years later for a holiday, got pestered a bit. I went into the mountains.
‘There was a cafe, one guy who owned it walked in and said, “You’re Gascoigne!” I said, “No I’m not”. I’ve seen a picture of me behind him and I went, “Oh ****”. I see him on the phone, then 40 minutes later 8,000 people turned up and I had to get the security men, so it was quite scary.’
The 54-year-old became a household name in football after his displays and passion for the game at the 1990 World Cup in Italy with England, and was a high profile signing for the Italian top flight when he arrived.
The legendary midfielder visited for a holiday in the mountains five years after leaving Lazio
He admitted he was schooled by top stars during his time in Italy, especially against AC Milan
But he was given a huge shock when coming up against some top drawer players – including Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Marco van Basten when facing AC Milan, joking he got ‘one touch’ in one game as Lazio were thumped.
‘When I played against AC Milan, I said, “Alright, I’m going to show them how good I am”,’ he added. ‘But they had [Ruud] Gullit, [Franck] Rijkaard, van Basten, Baresi, Maldini. I think I got one touch in 90 minutes! Destroyed 5-0. They were phenomenal.
‘Inter, Juventus, they battled us. But Milan were so frightening. They could clean up everything. The memories against them were so good.
He would go on to play 47 games in total for Lazio, scoring six times, before sealing a move to Rangers in 1995.
‘Gazza’ created a new exciting chapter for himself in Glasgow as he scored 39 goals in 104 games, and still had one more big tournament left in him as he played at Euro 1996, which was a home tournament for England.
The former England star played 47 times for Rome and hailed the fans for their support of him
Gascoigne also recalled ‘ruining’ Scotland’s Colin Hendry after chipping him for his wonder strike at Euro 1996
It would all end in heartbreak for England – on penalties again – but Gascoigne was able to enjoy a moment of individual brilliance in the group stages as his stunning goal against Scotland sealed a 2-0 win at Wembley.
The strike will always be remembered for his iconic ‘dentist chair’ celebration, but also how he bamboozled Scotland’s Colin Hendry as he chipped the ball over his head before smashing into the net. Gascoigne said he still kept in touch with Hendry as he recalled a meeting in London.
‘I’ve seen him in London and he said, “Gazza, what are you doing in London – I thought you lived in Bournemouth?”
‘I said, “What are you doing in London – I thought I left you at Wembley?” Every time I see him he says, “Don’t mention it Gazza”. But yeah I ruined him, the poor kid. I just destroyed him.’
The latest episode of BT Sport’s ‘What I Wore’ series featuring Paul Gascoigne is now available to watch on the BT Sport YouTube channel. For more info on BT Sport go to www.bt.com/sport
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