Bryan Robson revealed Fabrizio Ravanelli found it difficult to adjust from the high standards of Juventus when the Italy star made his shock move to Middlesbrough.
One of the most remarkable transfers in Premier League history saw Ravanelli, something of a superstar at the time, trade Turin for Teesside in 1996.
Just weeks before the £7million deal went through, Ravanelli won the Champions League with the Bianconeri, but the Middlesbrough switch turned sour when manager Robson’s team were relegated.
Ravanelli spent just one full season in England, and Robson admits: “We had a couple of problems with him.”
Describing the ‘Silver Fox’ as “super professional”, Robson conceded in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live that Ravanelli found not everyone at Middlesbrough met the striker’s expectations.
“He sort of got frustrated with some of the players, but he couldn’t hide it because of the Italian passion,” Robson said.
“Now and again I had to calm that down and have a chat with Ravanelli in the office, and just say, ‘The standards you’ve come from, you can’t expect that at Middlesbrough at the moment, but that’s what we’re trying to aim for, trying to build up where we’ve got a top team that can compete with the best teams in Europe’.”
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Although Ravanelli’s stay was short-lived, Middlesbrough supporters did not suffer for a lack of top names at the Riverside Stadium during the rest of the decade.
Paul Gascoigne arrived from Rangers in 1998, and before Middlesbrough’s first away game of the 1998-99 season, a trip to Aston Villa, the former Tottenham and Lazio star commandeered the team bus without permission.
Gascoigne went on to crash the bus and had to pay for repairs.
“Yes,” recalled 63-year-old Robson. “Gazza, in whatever frame of mind he was in, a brand new bus, first away game of the season, and he decided to drive it up the drive because he thought it smelled and sounded so cool.
“So, he drove it up there and he ripped all the side of the bus off.
“And we had to wait two hours at the training ground for another bus to come to take us down to Aston Villa.”