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  1. ITV Report

Gazza: I want to be remembered as a genius... and I pray I never drink again

Former footballer Paul Gascoigne wants to be remembered as a "genius" for his skills on the pitch and not his drinking, he has revealed.

Speaking to ITV News ahead of the release of a film celebrating his sporting career, Gazza said he "prayed" he would never succumb to drink again "but sometimes it numbs the feeling".

He was asked by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies what point of his career he would go back to if he had the chance.

"A Saturday afternoon at 3pm on the football pitch. Anywhere in the world, just to play football again - because that was my life, that's all I had," Gazza replied.

Watch the interview here:

Gazza said he wanted to help create the film - which features commentary from current and previous footballing icons such as Wayne Rooney and Gary Lineker - to help people remember the reason he became famous in the first place.

The alcoholism, he said, came later.

Pictures of Gazza battling his demons have regularly appeared in the press. Credit: ITV News

People forget that I played football for 20 years, and I had a great career.

I want to be remembered as a fun-loving guy - a genius, I suppose.

A guy that never asked for anything - just to be happy. That's all I want. I'm not one of those that goes fame-hunting. That just comes along with what I achieved on the football field.

– Paul Gascoigne
Gazza famously cried on the pitch after England lost to Germany in Italia 1990 Credit: PA

During the interview, an emotional Gascoigne revealed the beautiful game, had always been his first love.

It was the loss of his place in the football world which proved the real challenge as he battled alcoholism, he added.

No clearer was his deep devotion to the sport than at the 1990 Italia World Cup, when Gazza famously wept on the pitch after England lost to Germany in the semi-final on penalties.

As a boy, you dream of the World Cup and I arrived at 23. I was loving every moment - and when we got beat, I wasn't just looking at the fans who were fantastic towards us.

I thought my life was coming to an end - that's the way I looked at it. I couldn't deal with it.

– Paul Gascoigne
Gazza regrets this hairstyle he sported as a younger man. Credit: ITV News

While Gazza prays he won't drink again, the only other thing he said he would change from the past is his hair.

He said: "It was good getting famous, but I didn't realise what was going to come with it as well.

"But if I had any advice to my younger self it would be 'go and get your hair cut man."

Stuart Pearce said it was good to see his old friend Gazza looking so healthy. Credit: ITV News

Gazza's football pals, including Stuart Peace, also attended the premier.

Pearce said it was good to see his old friend, who is dry at the moment, on such good form.

"He's fantastically funny, he looks healthy and long may it continue."

Watch the full trailer here: