Barcelona and Bulgaria legend Hristo Stoichkov, who once ‘slaughtered’ Manchester United, still toasts Champions League Wembley success

5 Sep

Wembley holds a special place in Hristo Stoichkov’s heart.

As a Barcelona player he graced the biggest stadiums in football, but it was in England where Bulgaria’s greatest player enjoyed one of his biggest successes.

Stoichkov joined Barcelona from CSKA Sofia in 1990 and won the European Cup in 1992 as part of Barca’s ‘Dream Team’
Getty Images - Getty

He was part of the 1992 ‘Dream Team’ that won Barca their first ever European Cup – the season before it was re-branded as the Champions League – by beating Sampdoria 1-0 on the hallowed old turf and Stoichkov toasts the win every year.

“[Wembley] was a legendary name it was for us even before we won there,” he said in 2011.

“For Barcelona it was a huge success just to get there, because those were the days of the European Cup and there was more emphasis on the concept of the knockout tie than today’s [Champions League] group stage.

“This triumph was the start of the greatest years of my career. I was voted European Player of the Year in 1994, the same year that I was a World Cup semi-finalist with Bulgaria.

“But the European Cup victory in 1992 at Wembley felt fantastic, we were making history, celebrating Barcelonismo. That’s why I still have a replica of the European Cup in my house and I wake up to it every day. I’ll never forget Wembley.”

Barcelona have won five European Cups, but the first one was the most special, says Stoichkov
Getty Images - Getty

And Lionel Messi and co. remain indebted to Stoichkov and manager Johan Cruyff for getting the ball rolling in terms of Champions League success.

“Every year on 20 May I get up, I open a bottle and I say: ‘Here’s to it’.”

Speaking in Barcelona’s Camp Nou, he added: “I think 20 May should be here, wherever they record the titles at the stadium, and it should be in gold!

“After that one, you can win 20 if you want, but the first one is always there.”

Big ego, big talent

Bulgaria had never won a World Cup game heading into the 1994 edition, then Stoickov showed up...

He was the fiery, filthy-tempered finisher, who also happened to be Bulgaria’s star at USA ’94. He scored crucial goals against Argentina, Mexico and a pinged free-kick against Germany to help his side all the way to the semi-finals. He top scored with six goals, but had to share the Golden Boot with Oleg Salenko – a fact he’s probably still furious about.


Sir Alex Ferguson knows all about facing one of the most dangerous players of the 1990s, who partnered Brazil icon Romario at Barcelona to devastating effect.

“We have been well and truly slaughtered,” he said after watching Barcelona tear Manchester United to shreds in a 1994 Champions League group game where Stoichkov scored twice.

“It was a humbling experience for us. We couldn’t handle the speed of Stoichkov and Romario. The suddenness with which they attacked was a new experience.”

England vs Bulgaria is live on talkSPORT at 5pm on Saturday 7 September


Wojciech Szczesny joked he must be football’s greatest goalkeeper because he kept Liverpool star Alisson and Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon on the bench

4 Sep

Poland should reach Euro 2020 without any problems and that’s because they have Wojciech Szczesny – aka football’s greatest ever goalkeeper – in goal.

That’s according to the man himself, who was in a good mood ahead of his nation’s qualifiers against Slovenia and Austria.

Getty Images - Getty
Szczesny has not held back discussing just how great he is[/caption]

Poland have four wins from four and have conceded no goals, with the Juventus no.1 in goal for two of them and West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski playing the other two.

“In Roma I put on the bench the best goalkeeper in the world, in Juventus the best in history,” he joked with his country’s media while discussing playing with current Liverpool no.1 Alisson and then Gianluigi Buffon.

“It turns out that I am the best in the world and in history. If Lukasz [Fabianski] puts me on the bench, he would be the best in history!”

Szczesny made the no.1 position his in Turin when Buffon left for PSG last summer. However, the Juve and Italy legend returned to the club ahead of the current season and, speaking to Polish daily newspaper, Sports Review, the former Arsenal man reiterated he was joking and said another year of learning from the 41-year-old is priceless.

“I’m glad he came back,” continued Szczesny. “Our relationship, when he was in Paris, has not changed much. We were in constant contact. I was also one of the first people to learn about the possibility of his return.

“I must admit that I was very happy about that. I was called from the club and asked if I had any problem with Gigi coming back.

“And anyway, it’s not just a good move for Juventus, but also for me. Possibilities of training with Gigi, talking, watching, sharing insights. This can never be bought anywhere. I would have to be very stupid not to use it.

“When I came to Juventus two years ago, I knew I would be his substitute for a year. I have never been upset because of it. Now he has returned aware of his role. I am delighted he is back.”

View this post on Instagram

Singapore Day 1. 🇸🇬@gianluigibuffon good to have you back 😎

A post shared by Wojciech Szczesny (@wojciech.szczesny1) on

And on Alisson, Szczesny never had any doubt his former Roma team-mate would go onto become the best in the business.

The Liverpool keeper was recently crowned goalkeeper of the year at the Champions League draw, and writing on Instagram in 2017, Szczesny said of the Brazil international: “Great guy and a fantastic goalkeeper! Soon to be one of the best in the world!”

Live on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Germany vs Netherlands (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon (Saturday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Coventry City vs Blackpool (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • England vs Bulgaria (Saturday, 5pm) – talkSPORT

Before leaving for Juve in the summer of 2017, Szczesny was used by manager Luciano Spalletti in Serie A, while Alisson played in European matches.

The Brazilian became the main man upon his team-mate’s departure where he cemented his place as the world’s best, forcing Liverpool to spend almost £70m on him in 2018.

At the time, Roma boss Spalletti commented: “We’ve got two goalkeepers. With Szczesny we have different options and qualities and if he’s not available we have someone who is able to provide cover and show his ability.

“We need both of them, our training games could end 0-0, given how good they both are.”

What happened on transfer deadline day around Europe? Mauro Icardi, Bobby Duncan, Ryan Kent and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all move clubs

3 Sep

On a busy transfer deadline day, Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Roma on loan, while Liverpool sold youth team striker Bobby Duncan to Fiorentina.

Mkhitaryan made 59 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, scoring nine goals.

It is understood the Italian club will pay all of his £180,000-a-week wages and have an obligation to sign him on a permanent deal next summer, which is thought to be triggered by him playing 25 matches.

Fiorentina have reportedly paid £1.7million up front for Duncan, scorer of 32 goals for the under-18s in his first season since arriving from Manchester City in 2018 and there is also a 20 per cent sell-on fee for the player.

Matteo Darmian, meanwhile, is the fourth player to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side for Serie A this summer, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez having joined Inter before Chris Smalling made his loan switch to Roma last week.

The full-back has returned to Italy to join Parma and the deal is also believed to include a sell-on clause, with the Italy international signing a deal until 2023 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Darmian joined United in 2015 from Torino in a reported £12.7million deal and went on to represent the club 92 times in all competitions.

Solskjaer confirmed on Friday a move was on the cards for the full-back and later reiterated Paul Pogba would not be leaving for Real Madrid or anywhere else before the European deadline.

Notable transfers

Mauricio Pochettino can relax now, the transfer window is closed until January

Mauro Icardi: Inter to PSG (season-long loan)

Yannick Bolasie: Everton to Sporting (season-long loan)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Arsenal to Roma (season-long loan)

Bobby Duncan: Liverpool to Fiorentina (£1.7m)

Javier Hernandez: West Ham to Sevilla (£7.3m)

Ryan Kent: Liverpool to Rangers (£7m)

Radamel Falcao: Monaco to Galatasaray (loan)

Keylor Navas: Real Madrid to PSG (£13.6m)

Asmir Begovic: Bournemouth to Qarabag (season-long loan)

Fernando Llorente: Napoli (free – had been released by Tottenham)

Matteo Darmian: Man United to Parma (£3.6m)

Javier Hernandez stunned Sevilla sporting director Monchi by taking a pay cut to leave West Ham, Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has moved to Azerbaijan outfit Qarabag on loan and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente has joined Serie A side Napoli.

Llorente had been without a club since he left Spurs at the end of his contract in June, while Spurs also sold 20-year-old Marcus Edwards to Portuguese club Vitoria.

Chelsea winger Kenedy has completed a season-long loan move to Spanish club Getafe.

The Brazilian, who is in the final year of his contract, spent the last 18 months on loan at Newcastle, where he scored three goals in 41 appearances.

Despite featuring in Chelsea’s pre-season preparations, Kenedy has failed to break into Frank Lampard’s first-team squad for the Premier League campaign.

Since joining the Blues from Fluminense in 2015, Kenedy has made 27 appearances and was an unused substitute in the first two league games of this season.

Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina has joined Galatasaray on a season-long loan.

Galatasaray fans seem happy Falcao has joined their club
AFP or licensors

Celtic have signed teenage defender Jeremie Frimpong from Manchester City, with the 18-year-old right-back has agreeing a four-year contract with the Scottish champions.

Striker Stefano Okaka has joined Udinese from Watford on a permanent deal and Yannick Bolasie has joined Sporting from Everton on loan, having been at Goodison since 2016.

French side PSG snapped up Mauro Icardi from Inter on loan and landed Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, while in Istanbul, Galatasaray fans lit flares to await the arrival of Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco.

Lewis Hamilton stops interview when he sees Anthoine Hubert’s fatal Formula 2 crash at Belgium Grand Prix

2 Sep

Lewis Hamilton immediately feared for Anthoine Hubert when he saw his fatal crash on television.

Hamilton was conducting an interview at Spa when he was distracted by events in Formula Two’s feature race on Saturday and was heard saying ‘I hope that kid’s good,” adding “that’s terrifying.”

Drivers held a minute’s silence for Hubert on the grid
Getty Images - Getty

Tragically, the 22-year-old was killed in the crash, while American Juan Manuel Correa suffered fractures to both of his legs and a spinal injury.

Watching the incident, five-time world champion Hamilton looked seriously concerned and then ended his interview, while Mercedes and other teams also cut their media duties short.

Wearing a black armband as he stood on the top step of a Formula One podium for the first time in his career, winner in the F1 race, Charles Leclerc, pointed to the sky to acknowledge Hubert.

There was no customary champagne-spraying, while Daniel Ricciardo later admitted he contemplated withdrawing from Sunday’s Grand Prix.

British teenager, Lando Norris, 19, said he was left shaken by the fatal accident.

Motor racing’s world governing body,the FIA has opened an investigation into Hubert’s death which took place at 160mph on the exit of the fearsome Eau Rouge corner.

Hamilton’s attention is drawn to the tragic scene on the track where Anthoine Hubert’s catastrophic crash occurred
Leclerc dedicated his first win to Hubert
Getty Images - Getty

F1 held a one-minute silence on the grid before the Belgium GP, with drivers and team personnel from the respective championships joined by members of Hubert’s family.

Drivers wore black armbands while their cars carried ‘Racing for Anthoine’ messages in tribute to the Frenchman.

Sunday morning’s F2 sprint race was cancelled out of respect.

Romelu Lukaku being racially abused by Cagliari fans was embarrassing and incident received little coverage, Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri explains

2 Sep

Embarrassing. That’s the view of Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri on Cagliari fans’ racist abuse of Romelu Lukaku.

The Inter striker scored again for his new club – his second in as many games – to help his side to a 2-1 win away win in Sardinia.

Lukaku scored again for Inter, but the abuse from Cagliari’s fans took the shine off Inter’s win where the striker stared his abusers down
Getty Images - Getty

“I wasn’t on the ground, but it was quite embarrassing to hear, quite clearly, several racists chants – not from the entire ground – on the pitch side microphone,” Palmeri told talkSPORT, adding the incident received little coverage on Italy’s sports pages.

Lukaku scored Inter’s winner from the spot in the 72nd minute and then glared at the home fans behind the goal at the Sardegna Arena, having seemingly been targeted by monkey chants.

Moise Kean, now of Everton, was subjected to racist abuse when he played against Cagliari for Juventus last season, as was the France midfielder Blaise Matuidi, also playing for Juventus, the year before.

Cagliari escaped punishment after Kean was abused when the Italian Football Federation ruled the chants had ‘an objectively limited relevance’.

“I think that in Italy we must improve a lot and be more educated and respectful towards those doing their job,” Inter manager Antonio Conte said afterwards.

“In other countries you support the team; you don’t insult the opposition like this. There must be the maximum respect. Today I was treated well and wasn’t insulted, other times it hasn’t happened like that and it’s not nice.”

Gazzetta’s front page has a line about the racist incident



Afterwards, Lukaku tried to focus on the performance rather than Cagliari’s fans.

“I’m very happy about these first two League victories and about tonight’s success,” he told Inter TV.

“It was a tough match, we had to fight but that’s what we’ll have to do in every game, I’m happy for the team and for our fans.

“To score wearing this shirt is a great feeling, I want to help the team even more, through assists too: the goal is to continue like this.”

Former Premier League manager Ian Holloway said it needs a collective effort from fans inside the stadium to combat racism in the stands.

“It makes me really angry,” he told Laura Woods on the Breakfast show.

“No player should ever have to deal with this. It needs everyone in the crowd to stand together to shame these people – even if it’s just one person.

“My blood’s boiling. It’s all wrong.”

Harry Kane says he did not dive to try and win Tottenham a penalty against Arsenal in north London derby draw

2 Sep

Harry Kane did not try and con the referee during the north London derby, the Tottenham striker insists.

The captain had already scored from the spot to put his side 2-0 up against Arsenal in a 2-2 draw and went down in the box under a challenge from Sokratis Papastathopoulos in injury time at the Emirates Stadium, but referee Martin Atkinson gave nothing.

Kane insists he did not dive to try and win Tottenham a second penalty
Getty Images - Getty

“I think it was that stage of the game where [Sokratis] makes a tired tackle,” Kane told Sky Sports afterwards.

“I think if I am on the halfway line I get it, if I’m in the box it’s 50-50. The ref probably thinks I am looking for it but all I’m trying to do is shield the ball.

“But it is what it is. It’s one of them. It could be given in some games but it wasn’t today. You get on and move on.”

Christian Eriksen scored early for Tottenham, but the hosts fought back to claim a point through Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Speaking on talkSPORT’s Breakfast Show, former Premier League manager Ian Holloway thinks Kane did fall over too easily.

“That shove was not strong enough to put him over,” he told Laura Woods.

“He does it time and time again when Tottenham are under the cosh. He was falling too quickly, too early.”

In scoring his goal, Kane joined Emmanuel Adebayor and Bobby Smith as the derby’s top scoring player with 10 goals in all competitions.

We all know how much it means and it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet, it just would have felt a lot sweeter if we’d have won,” Kane told

Harry Kane had put Tottenham 2-0 up in the first half, but they lost their lead
Getty Images - Getty

Eriksen, meanwhile, looks to be staying put for the time being and manager Mauricio Pochettino joked he will pop the champagne when the European transfer window closes and no club can pinch his playmaker.

“Finish the transfer window after tomorrow, I think Tuesday we are going to make a big party and celebrate,” he told talkSPORT.

“Because I think it was my worst period after five years in Tottenham.”

Cristiano Ronaldo wants dinner with Lionel Messi and has a cheeky Nations League dig at Van Dijk during Champions League draw

30 Aug

Cristiano Ronaldo is hoping he and Lionel Messi can dine out on their marvellous rivalry.

Speaking at the Champions League draw in Monaco, the Juventus forward, who ended his 10-year stay at Real Madrid in 2019, revealed he misses competing against Messi.

Messi and Ronaldo have shared a rivalry for both club and country for the last 15 years

“We had that battle for the last 15 years, he pushed me and I pushed him, so it’s good to be part of that history of football,” he told talkSPORT’s Reshmin Chowdhury.

Both have won the Ballon d’Or five times each, while Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times to Messi’s four.

“I don’t know if it has ever happened in football, the same two guys on the same stage all the time. So it is not easy, as you know,” he continued.

“Of course, we have a good relationship.

“We have not had dinner together… yet. But I hope in the future!”

Ronaldo won Serie A in his first season at Juve as well as the Nations League with Portugal where they beat the Netherlands in the final.

Sitting alongside him at the Champions League draw was Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk, who could only laugh when the player highlighted his success at international level.

“The year was amazing, as I won three titles – Serie A, SuperCoppa Italiana and Nations League against Holland, which is fantastic!

“Individually and collectively I did well, so an amazing year.”

Van Dijk, though, was presented with the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, leaving both Messi and Ronaldo in his wake.

The Liverpool defender was a commanding presence as the club bounced back from defeat in the 2018 Champions League final to beat Tottenham the following year.

Virgil van Dijk helped Liverpool win the Champions League in Madrid

“It’s been a long road but that’s part of my journey, it’s part of who I am,” Van Dijk told the audience when accepting the reward.

“I needed it like this, I’m not a player who was 18 years old and had that rise straight away. I had to work hard for every step of the way – that’s part of me and I’m very happy about that.

“I’m very proud to get this trophy and it’s all credit to everyone that’s helped me along the way.”

Messi was awarded the Champions League forward of the season prize, edging Ronaldo and Sadio Mane to top spot.

He scored 12 goals in 10 European games as Barca reached the semi-finals of the competition.


Bury release statement criticising EFL, still working on deal to save football club

29 Aug

Bury have criticised the EFL following their expulsion from the league.

The Shakers were set a deadline of 5pm on Tuesday to complete a sale of the club, but were unable to do so and had their Football League membership revoked.

Bury face the prospect of liquidation now they have been expelled from the EFL
Getty Images - Getty

However, the club say there has been an ‘extreme lack of communication’ from the EFL and insist the decision to kick them out of the league was taken despite a credible new bidder being made aware to them before Tuesday’s deadline.

It had been hoped that C&N Sporting Risk, a sports analytics company, would rescue Bury but the London-based firm pulled out of the deal 90 minutes before the EFL’s 5pm deadline, citing concerns over the club’s confusing debt structure.

Owner Steve Dale then claimed he had received three new bids for the club, prompting fans, politicians and pundits to call for more time to explore these options. But shortly after 11pm, the league revealed its verdict.

The statement in full

“Everyone connected with Bury Football Club were shocked, and disappointed with the EFL’s decision to expel this wonderful, historic, community driven Club from the Football league. This decision was taken despite a credible new bidder being made aware to them before Tuesday’s 5pm deadline.

Given this, all staff, players and no doubt fans of Bury Football Club are utterly devastated that despite the new bid to buy the Club, the EFL have informed us that they will not be rescinding their decision.

This is something we are struggling to comprehend as the new bidder has proven significant funds to the EFL, funds to allow them to takeover, run and secure the long-term future of Bury Football Club. Everyone at the Club believed that such the capabilities of the potential new owner, this would’ve started a brand new era for the Club, seeing it go from strength to strength.

The extreme lack of communication from the EFL has left all involved with Bury Football Club astonished and in dismay.

As a Club, we are still pursuing other options, based on the outcome of where the EFL place us. Again, we would like to reiterate that the lack of communication from the EFL has been nothing short of dismal throughout this process.

Thank you to all the supporters for staying patient with us while we try to provide you with updates as frequently as possible.

All of us here at Bury Football Club have been thoroughly overwhelmed with the floods of support we have received from other football clubs, ex-players, fans of other football clubs and everyone else in the industry. We are truly grateful for all your thoughtful messages, proving once again the brilliance of the football family.”

Bury are the first club to drop out of the Football League for off-field reasons since Maidstone United went into liquidation in 1992.

The club are one of England’s oldest football clubs, having been formed in 1885, and have been members of the Football League for 125 years.

League One will now comprise of 23 teams for the remainder of the season, with only three teams to be relegated.

Fellow League One club Bolton faced the same fate as Bury, but their future was secured by Football Ventures to end any fears of liquidation.

Paul Appleton, the man involved with the takeover said the deal was ‘the most complicated he had ever worked on’.

From Liverpool and Tottenham, to Juventus and Atletico Madrid: How the last five Champions League runners-up fared the following season

29 Aug

Since 2014, just four clubs have lost Champions League finals: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and now Spurs.

It’s an exclusive club, with just one member bettering themselves the following season – Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Virgil van Dijk celebrates with the Champions League trophy after Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Spurs in Madrid
Getty Images - Getty

Before that, only one club in the last 10 years managed to bounce back from final defeat to lift the trophy the following season in the form of Bayern Munich in 2013.

The romantics amongst us would like to think that Spurs could follow in the footsteps of their Premier League rivals and prosper this time around. Although if you cast an eye over the last five finals, Liverpool are somewhat of a rarity in that regard.

Runners up in 2013/14, Atletico Madrid looked like their luck was going to change the following campaign.

Finishing as leaders of group A ahead of Juventus and beating Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16, the 2014/15 Champions League started well for the Spanish side.

It was however when they came across fierce rivals Real Madrid in the quarter finals that their fortune ran out.

Juventus reached the final in 2015, but were dumped out by fellow European heavyweights Bayern Munich in the last 16 the following season
Getty - Contributor

On the contrary, Juventus had a torrid time of it the following season. A second place finish in group D behind Manchester City and a last 16 loss to Bayern Munich wrapped up their comeback campaign rather quickly.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico returned for another crack at the whip after defeat in the 2016 final to Real. Winning group D ahead of Bayern Munich and breezing past Bayer Leverkusen and Leicester in the knockout stages hinted it could finally have been their year.

But guess who popped up in the semis? Yep, Real.

Turin’s finest were back for another attempt in the 2017/18 campaign having lost to Zinedine Zidane’s side the season before. Finishing second behind Barcelona in group D, Juventus were set to face little old Tottenham, a side hoping to push on from finishing ahead of eventual winners Real Madrid in their group.

Despite a fascinating draw in Italy and an early lead through Son Heung-Min at Wembley, a smug Juventus progressed to only lose to Madrid in the quarters. I’m not laughing, you’re laughing.

And that brings us up to this year, where Liverpool banished the demons of that night in Kiev to lift Europe’s elite trophy for the sixth time.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Cardiff vs Fulham (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Southampton vs Man United (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Bristol City vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Chelsea vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Burnley vs Liverpool (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

Getty Images - Getty
Tottenham came within 90 minutes of Champions League glory last season[/caption]

So what lessons can Mauricio Pochettino’s side learn from the Reds?

Liverpool’s group last season was no free ride, with PSG and Napoli tricky opponents for any team. An electric atmosphere and performance at Anfield against both was enough to see them through. Spurs have proven they turn up against the big sides in Europe, with wins over Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and a draw at the Nou Camp under the belts of the current squad.

With Spurs pretty settled in their new home (yes, I was at the Newcastle game), the atmosphere against City and Ajax last season in the Champions League was fantastic. If they want to push on this campaign, that special feeling needs to return.

Tottenham looked dead and buried in the Champions League at one point, but battled their way to the final thanks in part to their roaring home support
Getty - Contributor

Pochettino and co. proved that no matter the challenge ahead, they can defy the odds in Europe – the away trips to the Etihad and Johan Cruyff Arena all the proof you need.

All is not well at the club at the moment, but a good Champions League draw could pump some life back into the side. Deep breath everyone, we go again.

Follow @TalkingTHFC on Twitter

Dean Saunders: Former Liverpool, Wales and Aston Villa striker given 10-week prison sentence

28 Aug

Former Wales, Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Dean Saunders has been jailed for 10 weeks.

The 55-year-old pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates’ Courts to failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.

Saunders represented Wales 75 times and scored 22 goals
Getty Images - Getty

He was stopped on suspicion of drink driving by police in Boughton, Chester, on 10 May, pleaded guilty by letter yesterday and was sentenced on Wednesday.

Saunders, of The Paddocks, Whitegate, near Northwich, Cheshire, had initially denied both charges at an earlier hearing.

Saunders was also banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay court costs of £620.

He said he had been out at Chester Races and had drunk two pints.

His lawyer suggested this may have ‘interacted’ with the medication he takes for injury to his knees and his inhaler for his asthma.

Police who arrested him said Saunders was slurring his speech and had to prop himself up against his Audi A8 car when he was asked to get out of the vehicle.

He was due to go on trial on Wednesday, but indicated through his lawyers on Tuesday that he would not be contesting the charges and entered his guilty plea on Wednesday morning.

Liverpool signed Saunders from Derby in 1991 and he won the FA Cup the following year
Getty - Contributor

Passing sentence, District Judge Nicholas Sanders told him: “Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law.

“In fact the opposite is true – someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.”

Saunders joined Villa from Liverpool in 1992 and left for Galatasaray in 1995. He also played for Benfica, Forest, Sheffield United and Bradford
Getty Images - Getty

Saunders was capped 75 times for Wales and won the FA Cup with Liverpool in 1992, a club he played 61 times for and scored 25 goals.

After the FA Cup success, Aston Villa then paid £2.3m for him and was the club’s top scoring player in three successive seasons.

He left for Turkish club Galatasaray after scoring 49 goals in 144 games.

His foray into management was less successful and has had spells in charge of Wolves, Wrexham, Doncaster, Crawley and Chesterfield.

In recent years, he has been working as a TV and radio pundit.