Gazza’s moment of madness in 1991 FA Cup final

Tottenham Hotspur’s Paul Gascoigne (right) hacks down Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles injuring himself in the process

But the former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio star has always candidly admitted that nothing haunts him more than his scything challenge on Gary Charles early in the 1991 FA Cup final.

Gascoigne was lucky to escape a red card for his wild lunge on the Nottingham Forest defender, which yielded only a free-kick from which Stuart Pearce gave Forest the lead.

But he was not so fortunate in other ways, as he ruptured a cruciate ligament in the process and arguably sparked a series of physical and psychological problems which would ultimately lead to his premature departure from the game.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live in 2011, Gascoigne admitted: “I remember Charles coming down the right – I tried to get a good challenge on him to let him know he was in a game.

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“I got up and knew I wasn’t feeling right. I got back in the wall and Pearce scored but I wasn’t bothered about that. All I was thinking about was my injury.”

The midfielder eventually fell to the turf in tears, and watched his agony as his team-mates clambered up the steps to receive the famous trophy, having battled back for a 2-1 win.

“The minute I started crying was the minute they started walking up the steps,” added Gascoigne. “That was my dream. I still get a lump in my throat when I talk about it. I wasn’t bothered with lifting the trophy, I just wanted to walk up those steps.”

Gascoigne’s injury thrust his imminent £5.5 million move to Lazio in doubt – but the Italians kept faith in him and helped him back to fitness during three tough seasons he would spend in Rome.

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