Football

Paul Gascoigne tells tale of playing Diego Maradona when both men were ‘tipsy’


Paul Gascoigne and Diego Maradona met in 1992 (Picture: EMPICS via Getty Images)

Paul Gascoigne and Diego Maradona took to the field together in 1992 and both were a little bit worse for wear.

Maradona tragically passed away at just 60-years-old on Wednesday after a heart attack at home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The football, and wider, world has been paying tribute to the World Cup winning captain, who some consider to be the greatest player of all time.

Gazza, unsurprisingly, had a unique and entertaining tale to tell of a meeting with Maradona, which came in an exhibition match between Lazio and Sevilla in 1992.

The Englishman had joined the Italian team from Tottenham that year, while Maradona had left his beloved Napoli for Spain.

Seen as it was an exhibition match, neither were taking it too seriously, and Gazza explains how both had indulged a bit before kick-off at the Sánchez Pizjuán.

Gascoigne told Good Morning Britain: ‘Lazio wanted us to play against Seville with Maradona, I said “no I want to play against Juventus.”

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‘They said, “no the president wants you to play against Maradona.” I said, “okay, I’ll meet you there at the game.”

‘Obviously on the flight I’d had a couple of drinks and in the tunnel I went to Diego, “Diego I’m tipsy” and he said “it’s okay Gazza, so am I.” So that was okay.

‘I beat about four players and scored a goal and looked at him and said, “beat that!”

‘Obviously I spoke a bit of Italian because he doesn’t speak English and neither do I. I think I said the wrong thing because he was unbelievable, magic, I mean what a player.

‘My icon is Bryan Robson, but around the world, Diego was a phenomenal footballer.’

This is not the first time this story has cropped up and Gazza may well have watered it down a bit for early-morning TV as it was a bit spicier in previous tellings.

Another version of the same story involved the former Newcastle and Rangers man going on a three-day bender at Disneyland Paris and telling Maradona he was ‘smashed’ as a result.

Either way, Diego was not fazed.


MORE : Grieving Maradona fans take to the streets as Argentina enters three days of national mourning


MORE : Peter Shilton criticises Diego Maradona over ‘Hand of God’ goal after Argentine’s death

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