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Sunday, 29 April 2018

Lazio 1992 - No.8 Gascoigne.

Paul Gascoigne was judged to be the man capable of leading Lazio into the light. The man who would kick-start a prosperous era under the new ownership of food tycoon, Sergio Cragnotti. However, whilst their club had signed a player of unquestionable talent, his was a talent underpinned by fragility, both physically and psychologically.

He was the marquee signing Cragnotti craved. But having agreed a fee of £8.5m – an astronomical sum for the pre-Murdoch First Division days – Gazza ruptured cruciate ligaments during the 1991 FA Cup final.
The setback was the first of many career-stymieing injuries, and unsurprisingly, Lazio sought instant renegotiations. The Italian’s sent a medical team to examine the player and a revised fee of £5.5 million was agreed, still a British record at the time.

True to form his jokes on team-mates and club staff were relentless. To name but a few: he put a massive ray fish on Beppe Signori's windscreen, he slipped a dead snake in Roberto Di Matteo’s jacket pocket, he took Dino Zoff’s whistle, attached it to a Turkey and released the bird on the training field, and, according to Zoff himself, Gazza had a propensity to turn up to team dinners naked.

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