Former Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton midfielder Paul Gascoigne has been retired since 2004. But Gascoigne admitted on Friday morning in an interview that he used to snort cocaine and drink heavily before his matches, according to Daily Mail.
"I was on four bottles of whiskey per day for three months. It took two bottles just to stop the shakes," he said.
At undoubtedly one of the lowest points of his career, Gascoigne drank a half-dozen brandies before a match, followed by 13 lagers after his team's defeat.
"I am an alcoholic. It's not a bad word. I am it and I've got to get on with it. The alcohol took over my life. … Now it's turned around and all good stuff is happening," he said. "The main thing for me is to enjoy life again. I've got a smile back on my face."
Soccer players are incredible athletes, with many running more than a couple miles during a given match. So to think that Gascoigne could have played the game at the level he did while under the influence is baffling.
A documentary that aired on British television in 2009 titled Saving Gazza featured an interview with Gascoigne's then-12-year-old son, Regan, who expressed disappointment in his father's habits.
"He's probably going to die soon. I don't think there's any point in helping him," Regan said. "He's my dad. He should have helped and seen me all these years."
Gascoigne is overcoming his addictions and adapting to a normal life again, including the occasional game of golf.
"Gazzo," as he was nicknamed in his playing days, made 57 appearances for the England national team, netting 10 goals.