Former Premier League star Faustino Asprilla has told how a hitman for drug baron Pablo Escobar offered to murder a rival goalkeeper.
Paraguay shotstopper Jose Luis Chilavert faced an assassination attempt after a brawl with the eccentric ex-Newcastle Utd striker.
The Toon cult hero revealed Escobar’s henchman asked him for permission to take out shot-stopper Jose at a hotel.
The offer came after Asprilla was involved in a fight with Jose in a 1997 World Cup qualifier.
The 50-year-old, better known as Tino, made the shock confession during a mini-series about his life on Colombian TV.
He told Julio Cesar Correa Valdes, who used the alias Fierro as one of Escobar’s strong men in the infamous Medellin Cartel, to forget the ‘madcap’ plan.
Asprilla, who met the drugs trafficker with a teammate, said: “I got a call and someone said: ‘I’m Julio Fierro, can you come to my hotel.
“When I arrived he was with about 10 other people, all drunk and partying with Paraguayan women.
“He said to me: ‘We need you to give us authorisation so two men here stay in as they want to go and kill Chilavert.”
Asprilla said he saved the goalie’s life by countering: “What? Are you mad? You’re going to finish off Colombian football, that can’t happen.
“What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.”
The retired footballer said Chilavert never found out about the threat to his life. Fierro was killed by Colombian paramilitaries.
Free-kick taking Chilavert was known for his fiery temper. After he was sent off for brawling with Asprilla, he was filmed spitting in former Real Madrid defender Roberto Carlos’ face during a World Cup qualifier in August 2001 between Paraguay and Brazil.
He later insisted Carlos had provoked him. Asprilla, a star of Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’ at Newcastle Utd, appeared at St James Park to finalise his £6.7m move from Parma in 1996 during a snowstorm, dressed in a fur coat.
He was sold back to Parma for £6m in 1998, having scored nine goals in 48 league appearance and nine goals in 11 European games. In 2016 he became the face of new ‘Tino’ flavoured condoms sold in shops across his home country.
Tino said the idea for the product came after a photo of him accidentally flashing his manhood during a friendly against Chile in 1993 made international headlines.