By Andrew Atkinson

Paul Gascoigne was cleared of sex assault charges at Teesside Crown Court – months after spending time in Spain during the summer.

Gascoigne, 52, faced the trial after he kissed a woman as she was being taunted regards to her weight by train passengers.

He was quite simply the best England player of recent generations and the goal he scored against Scotland in the group stage of Euro 96 was his finest moment. More than that, it remains one of the most outstanding goals in England’s international history.

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When he appeared in court Gazza said he was sticking up for the woman – being bullied – and gave her a ‘peck’ as he wanted to help.

Ex-England star Gascoigne, capped 57 times, revealed he hadn’t touched any alcohol during his stay in Spain, had undertook exercise ‘binges’ to stop him drinking, ahead of the trial.

Gazza, waiting for the trial during his time in Spain, who has battled with booze for years, took to sport in the Mar Menor on a jet ski, and relaxed by a private swimming pool in Cabo Roig, ahead of his ‘Evening with Paul Gascoigne’ events.

Gazza was at the Orihuela Costa Resort, in La Zenia, and at La Marina Hotel in Benidorm, in June.

Gascoigne, who had a successful career at Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Gers, Middlesbrough, Everton and  Burnley, had said he was looking forward to his ‘jollies’ in Spain.

Gazza spoke to Los Montesinos resident Russell Moore in Quesada, about the goal against Auld Enemy Scotland in the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 1996.

Gazza celebrated by re-enacting the ‘dentist’s chair’ incident – which occurred in a Hong Kong club before the tournament – with Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham pouring water into his mouth.

“Talking to Gazza I said how much I loved his goal at Wembley against the Scots, and he replied: ‘Oh, yes – that was special – for many reasons’!” Russell told me.