The remarkable story of how ex-Newcastle hero Faustino Asprilla called OFF a gangland hit on a fellow footballer

Former Newcastle United striker Faustino Asprilla has revealed he once persuaded a hitman against executing Paraguay’s goalscoring goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 2:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 6:45 am
10 May 1997: Faustino Asprilla of Newcastle celebrates a goal during the FA Carling Premier League match against Nottingham Forest at St James Park in Newcastle, England. Newcastle won 5-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport

The incident – which took place a year after Asprilla signed for United from Parma – revolves around Chilavert and the frontman both being sent off in a World Cup qualifier in Asuncion.

And Asprilla, part of Kevin Keegan’s side nicknamed ‘The Entertainers’, has revealed a gunman phoned his hotel room after said game, asking for permission to kill Chilavert.

Speaking on a documentary on Colombian TV, Asprilla said: “What? Are you crazy? You’ll destroy Colombian football, you can’t do that!

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ASUNCION, PARAGUAY: Paraguayan goalie Jose Luis Chilavert celebrates the first goal scored by his team during a Japan-Korea 2002 World Cup qualification match against Peru, 15 November 2000, at the Defensores del Chaco Stadium in Asuncion. AFP PHOTO / Daniel GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

“No, no, no, no. What happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.”

This incident came just three years after fellow Colombian international Andres Escobar was shot dead, in what was widely regarded as a gangland execution, weeks after an own goal in USA 1994 saw Colombia exit the World Cup.