Former Newcastle United striker Faustino Asprilla has revealed he once accepted an offer from a drug trafficking tycoon to kill the famous Paraguayan goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert after a World Cup qualifying match.
Speaking in a documentary about his life – shown this weekend, the former Colombian football legend said the gruesome offer was made in 1997. It was three years after the defender. Colombian national team Andres Escobar was shot dead in his home town of Medellin and the alleged culprit was a gang member after he scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup.
Both Asprilla and Chilavert were sent off in the 1998 World Cup qualifying match in Asuncion, which hosts Paraguay 2-1. Later, Asprilla said that he had received a call from Julio Fierro, who was considered a drug trafficking tycoon. Fierro invited Asprilla to a hotel in Asuncion with former Colombian colleague Victor Hugo Aristizabal.
There, Fierro was waiting for them with 10 people, drunk and prostitutes playing Paraguay. Asprilla said: “We were very upset because we lost when the man came and said they wanted them to stay in Asuncion to kill the fat Chilavert”. The 50-year-old former striker told them that what happened on the pitch is still there and the problem is over. But the other boss still insisted and asked Asprilla to assassinate the legendary goalkeeper of Paraguay. Fierro’s body was discovered in 2004 and is suspected of being a payment by criminal gangs.
The 1990s were a gloomy time for Colombian football. Some clubs like America, Millonario and Envigado have received mafia funding and have suffered devastating consequences.
Before Escobar was assassinated, the Colombian team was threatened in the 1994 World Cup. In which, midfielder Gabriel Gomez left the tournament after playing a match due to many life-threatening threats and aimed at if my family is out in the match against the American home. Coach Francisco Maturana also received a death threat if he chose Gomez.
A spokesman for Colombia at the time said it was not uncommon for a player to receive threats. Asprilla – nicknamed “Tino”, made a name for himself in Europe when playing for Parma to win the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) in 1993. Three years later, he moved to Newcastle – the team currently play in the Premier League.