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Faustino Asprilla - The Iconic Colombian

When Asprilla landed in England in the February of 1996, he had already earned a reputation for himself as both a terrific footballer on the pitch. Here’s about Faustino Asprilla, the iconic colombian.

Last updated: 26.07.2021
Faustino Asprilla the iconic colombian

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When Asprilla landed in England in the February of 1996, he had already earned a reputation for himself as both a terrific footballer on the pitch and a bit of a maverick off of it in Italy. During this time, the explosive forward was also instrumental in Parma's European triumphs, winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1993 and the Uefa Cup in 1995. Although they were well aware of his enormous talent and remarkable ability to shock crowds and opponents alike, his fans had no idea what to anticipate from him in terms of his off-field activities. Some of his eccentric activities included- a mysterious leg cut that kept him out of the 1993 European Cup Winners’ Cup final,

a one year suspended sentence for a firearms offence committed while he was celebrating the new year in Colombia on December 31st, 1994,

his recent divorce from wife Catalina,


his alleged love affair with the porn star Petra Scharbach,

occasional and not so private rows with Parma coach Nevio Scala, etc etc

Still, he arrived in England in the morning and wasn’t expecting to play a part in the grudge match against Middlesbrough, choosing to enjoy a glass of wine on the team bus on the way to the Riverside Stadium. Kevin Keegan surprised him by calling him off the bench in the 67th minute, even though he'd only arrived in England that morning. He ran circles around the Boro defence, setting up a Steve Watson goal in the process.

The Newcastle fans were very happy at first, but things changed in a jiffy. Manchester United had superseded them as table toppers by matchday 31 and didn't surrender sthe first position after that, basking in the glory of enthusiasm to their third league title in four years. In the closing months of the campaign, Asprilla was blamed for the team's breakdown, a storyline that hasn't gone away. Newcastle's decline is explained in a somewhat simplistic and reductive manner.

It was unfair to lay the blame at Asprilla’s feet when he possessed the ability to win games on his own – if he felt like it. There is a sense that he would coast through matches against weaker opposition, reflecting his laid-back nature, but would then turn it on for the big games.

Not every one of his best performances was a flop. The next season, he turned in arguably the finest individual performance the club has ever seen on the European arena, scoring a hat-trick versus Barcelona in a dramatic 3-2 Champions League win, guaranteeing he would be held in high esteem on Tyneside for the rest of his life.

Only someone who plays the way he did could possess the personality that he does. There’s only one Tino.

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