Rangers Legends lose to World XI but Gazza steals the show
Rangers Legends faced a World XI team at Ibrox on Saturday, March 26, 2023, as part of the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The match featured some of the biggest names in football history, such as Luis Figo, Kaka, Ricardo Quaresma, and Roy Makaay. However, the star of the day was none other than Paul Gascoigne, the former Rangers and England midfielder who has battled with alcoholism and mental health issues for years.
Gascoigne, affectionately known as Gazza, came on as a substitute for the last five minutes of the game and scored a stunning goal with his trademark left foot. He then broke down in tears as he was embraced by his former teammates and opponents, who gave him a standing ovation. The crowd of over 38,000 fans also chanted his name and cheered him on, showing their support and appreciation for the legend.
Gascoigne, who played for Rangers from 1995 to 1998, was part of the team that won nine consecutive league titles in Scotland. He also scored one of the most memorable goals in Old Firm history, when he played the flute in front of the Celtic fans in 1998. However, his career and life were marred by personal problems, such as addiction, depression, and domestic violence. He has been in and out of rehab several times and has attempted suicide on more than one occasion.
World XI edge past Rangers Legends in a thrilling game
The game itself was a thrilling affair, with both sides showing their skills and flair, albeit at a slower pace than in their prime. Rangers Legends took the lead in the first half, when Shota Arveladze headed in a cross from Ronald de Boer. The World XI equalized in the second half, when Carlos Marchena nodded in a lofted pass from Kaka, who had earlier hit the crossbar with a brilliant shot. The visitors then took the lead, when Nuno Gomes lobbed the ball over Neil Alexander with a sublime finish. Quaresma made it 3-1 with a trademark strike with the outside of his boot, before Gascoigne pulled one back for the hosts with a powerful drive from the edge of the box.
The game was played in a friendly spirit, with both teams exchanging hugs and smiles throughout. The World XI was managed by Luis Figo, who had assembled a squad of former stars from Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, and France. The Rangers Legends was managed by Alex McLeish, who had coached the club to two league titles, two Scottish Cups, and three League Cups. The match was also a tribute to former Rangers players and staff who had passed away in the last year, such as Fernando Ricksen, Ally Dawson, and Walter Smith.
Rangers mark 150th anniversary with a spectacular event
The match was part of a series of events to mark the 150th anniversary of Rangers, who were founded in 1872 and are one of the most successful clubs in the world. The club has won 55 league titles, 33 Scottish Cups, 27 League Cups, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. The club has also produced some of the greatest players and managers in football history, such as Bill Struth, Graeme Souness, Brian Laudrup, and Ally McCoist.
The club had also organized a fan zone outside the stadium, where supporters could enjoy live music, food and drink, and interactive activities. The club also unveiled a new statue of John Greig, the club’s greatest ever player and captain, who led the team to the 1972 European triumph. The statue was sculpted by Andy Scott, who also created the Kelpies and the Heavy Horse. The club also announced plans to build a new museum and a new stand at Ibrox, as well as a new training ground and academy.
The club’s chairman, Douglas Park, said that the anniversary was a “momentous occasion” and a “chance to celebrate our glorious past and look forward to an exciting future”. He also thanked the fans for their “loyalty and passion” and said that they were the “lifeblood of the club”.