Paul Gascoigne tells crazy story of dressing up as Santa Claus to prank Sepp Blatter

Retired footballer Paul Gascoigne today took part in a Q&A in which he spoke about his favourite players and memories of Italia 90 and Euro 96.

The supremely talented former Newcastle and Spurs midfielder also told a fantastic story from his time in Serie A with Lazio.

Now aged 48, Gascoigne spent three years in Italy but failed to ever truly settle in Rome before moving to Rangers in 1995.

During his time with Lazio, the then time FIFA General Secretary Sepp Blatter came to visit and Gascoigne somehow saw it as an opportunity to dress up as Santa Claus. Dino Zoff was not so impressed.

He told the story brilliantly in the Guardian Q&A today.

During your stint at Lazio, did your Italian teammates fully get your irreverent sense of perhaps British silly humour? The clip of you eating the easter egg springs to mind. If they did not, what was the most awkward moment of you acting out a joke and it being received very badly?

“They had no option. No option. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing, I must admit.

“I did one on Di Matteo, who would sometimes get on my nerves. I went back to the villa and there was a little snake. I went back to training in the afternoon and put the snake in his pocket. When we came back in after training I asked him if he had any money. He put his hand in his pocket and nearly shat himself.

“But at training I put the effort in as well. Once Dino Zoff said Blatter was coming. He wanted us on time in the Lazio suit. I turned up 30 minutes later in a Santa Claus outfit. I sat next to Blatter and said: “Hello, I’m Santa, ho, ho, ho.” The security wanted to get rid of me and Zoff wasn’t happy and made me train morning and afternoon for a week.”