Faustino Hernán Asprilla Hinestroza (born 10 November 1969 in Tuluá) was a hugely gifted Colombian striker who would sometimes be a bit of an arsehole.
Faustino fitted in perfectly at Newcastle, as he was either brilliant or shit depending on what kind of mood he was in.
He was the architect of one of Newcastle’s finest hours in 1997 when he scored an incredible hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Barcelona in the Champions League celebrating each goal with a tired cartwheel. Asprilla was extremely good at football and did things that teammates such as David Batty couldn’t even understand let alone mimic.
Sadly, at times Asprilla would just be a bit of a cock and hardly try at all. He was also said to be less than committed in training and would sometimes turn up hours late with a group of friends and cooler full of beers.
Asprilla was staunchly dedicated to underachieving at international level. At the 1994 World Cup he moaned incessantly and eventually walked out of the Colombia camp. And against all odds he made it two World Cup tantrums in a row when he lost his rag after being substituted against Romania in 1998 and was sent home.
At the end of his playing career, Asprilla made some powerful enemies in the city of Darlington. The struggling third division side’s chairman at the time George Reynolds had made friends with Asprilla and persuaded the Colombian to play for the Quakers.
However, on the day he was supposed to sign the contract Asprilla made a run for it and left the country never to return. ‘I thought I wanted to play for glorified pub team, but actually would be a humbling end to a great career,’ Asprilla later explained. It later turned out that Reynolds was a big tax cheat, but that didn’t really exonerate Asprilla.
These days Asprilla spends his time on Colombian TV reality shows. He has no plans to visit Darlington.