Newcastle hero Faustino Asprilla refused to run and told boss “I’m not Forrest Gump!”

Faustino Asprilla never enjoyed playing by the rules at Newcastle United, and he even once told a former manager at Parma he was not ‘Forrest Gump’ when asked to run in training.

The maverick striker famously scored a Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona at St James’ Park as part of Kevin Keegan’s famous ‘Entertainers’. Asprilla registered 18 goals and 19 assists during his two-year stint on Tyneside.

Arriving to sign in February 1996 dressed in a fur coat during a snowstorm, the striker created memories both on and off the pitch. Magpies legend Alan Shearer labelled his team-mate as a ‘nice lunatic’, with his off-field antics including climbing the gates to his home in the early hours after a night out.

It seems as though every Newcastle star of the era has an amusing tale they could share about Asprilla following his £6.7 million arrival from Parma. The Colombian international made the move to Europe with the Serie A outfit in 1992, and tasted success both domestically and on the continent as a member of one of the club’s greatest sides.

Asprilla would twice lift the UEFA Cup during his two spells at the club, as well as collecting an Italian Cup winners’ medal. However, this success did not mean his relationship with former boss Nevio Scala was without its hiccups.

Reflecting on the training clash, Asprilla told La Gazzetta dello Sport via Football Italia: “I didn’t play by the rules. One day he wanted me to run around the Citadel and I said: ‘I’m not Forrest Gump’.

Liverpool Echo)

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“For me, football has always been fun. No rules, no strategies.”

Asprilla admits he was ‘really happy’ in Italy straight away, having being plucked from Colombian club Atletico Nacional. The 52-year-old namechecked Luigi Apolloni, Alessandro Melli and Marco Osio among his ‘great’ team-mates at the club.

However, it would seemingly not be an Asprilla interview without recalling a bizarre episode off the pitch. On this occasion, the striker recalled a New Year’s celebration in 1995 which ended with him being bailed out of a police station.

Asprilla said: “I celebrated New Year shooting four or five times in the air with a revolver. I was famous so the police took me to the station and called the Parma directors, who paid my bail.

“And on Sunday I needed to be on the pitch for Parma-Juventus. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best preparation.”

Asprilla’s arrival at Newcastle coincided with a downturn in form which led to Keegan’s side losing out in the Premier League title race despite building up a 12-point lead over Manchester United. The eccentric Colombian star has often been blamed for this collapse in the year since, but his team-mates have been quick to defend the striker in subsequent interviews.

Newcastle United 3-2 Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Group C match at St James Park, Wednesday 17th September 1997. Our picture shows Tino Asprilla celebrates after scoring 1st goal, a penalty in 22nd minute, he scored a hat-trick during match. (Photo by Bradley Ormesher/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Shearer came home in a then world-record transfer that summer, and had nothing but praise for his strike partner’s influence in the dressing room. He recently to the BBC Match of the Day podcast: “He was brilliant.

“He was brilliant for the dressing room because he was a character. He loved a laugh and a joke and he could do no wrong in the dressing room really because he didn’t speak a lot of English.”

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