Gazza Claus!
© Getty Images

Paul Gascoigne was an entertainer extraordinaire – both in football boots and in other attire!

The mercurial midfielder loved dressing up, and the above shot shows him playing the part of Santa Claus to distribute cuddly toys to children for Christmas 1990.

Gazza had much to celebrate that December. The then 23-year-old had, after all, become only the second footballer to win the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Gascoigne, emulating the legendary Sir Bobby Moore, was indebted to him helping Tottenham Hotspur, who had finished 13th the season before they signed him from Newcastle United, run home third in the English top tier. He also enjoyed illuminating the 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy™, inspiring England to the semi-finals, where they lost on penalties to West Germany.

Gazza produced a fine performance in that pulsating match, and memorably cried when a yellow card he picked up meant he would miss the Final had Sir Bobby Robson’s team progressed. He did nevertheless have the consolation of being one of four midfielder named in FIFA’s All-Star Team for Italy 1990 alongside Roberto Donadoni, Diego Maradona and Lothar Matthaus.

Chris Waddle, who missed a penalty in the shootout against the West Germans, later said of Gascoigne: “The great thing about Gazza is that he didn't respect who he was playing against. He didn't even know who he was playing against. When I mentioned Rijkaard he thought it was a country!"