Former Colombia and Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla says he had to encourage a hitman not to kill Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert after a World Cup qualifying match in 1997.
Asprilla told Colombian television channel TelePacifico that the gunman called his hotel room after he and Chilavert were both sent off in the match, which Paraguay won 2-1.
“Are you crazy?” he recalls saying.
“You will destroy Colombian football. What happens on the pitch stays there.”
Asprilla, who was speaking on a documentary to celebrate his 50th birthday last weekend, was one of the top names in Colombian football in the 1990s, scoring 20 goals in 57 appearances for his country.
Colombia defender Andres Escobar was shot dead outside a bar in Medellin in 1994, in apparent retribution for an own goal he scored days earlier that hastened the country’s exit from the World Cup in the United States.