THERE can scarcely have been a more charismatic, passionate and headline-making player in the history of Rangers than Lorenzo Amoruso whose six years at Ibrox were packed with emotion, excitement, joy and tears.

He went through more experiences in his Rangers career than an entire team of players and he rates his time in Glasgow as the best in his life.

It was little surprise that the sometimes maverick Italian defender earned his place in Hall of Fame in February 2010 becoming only the fourth non-Briton to do so.

At his best – and he usually reserved this for the important matches – he was a terrific defender who exuded bravery and leadership, tackled fiercely and challenged for every ball as if it was his last moment on earth.

On the flip side, he was occasionally susceptible to rash mistakes and infuriated team mates and fans at times with some wild free kicks when others should have been charged with the set piece situation.

He was flamboyant, with a mane of shining dark hair usually kept off his tanned face by a head band when he was on the field and a pair of designer sun-glasses when he was off it – Italian, of course.

The fans loved him and little wonder. He was at the heart of two Trebles in a total haul of nine major honours and he has never hidden his passion for the club even although he left in 2003.

Amoruso was signed by Walter Smith from Fiorentina in the summer of 1997 for £4million as a direct replacement for Richard Gough who was supposed to be heading to Major League Soccer in the United States.

Manchester United almost pinched him at the last minute when the former Chief Executive Martin Edwards called Amoruso’s agent as they waited to board a plane to Glasgow but the Light Blues got their man.

Rangers had just clinched their ninth successive title and they wanted Amoruso to drive the bid for 10 in a row but he missed the first 10 months of that campaign with an Achilles problem and Gough’s Stateside trip was put on hold.

He said: “I was really devastated. Rangers knew I had a problem before I signed bit it was a horrible feeling. When you join a new club you want to make an impact immediately.”

Rangers agonisingly failed in their pursuit of Ten with rivals Celtic eventually edging them out in the final day of the season. They also lost the Scottish Cup Final and finished the season without an honour which was a sad end for Smith and his team, most of whom left with the manager who was replaced by Dick Advocaat.

Amoruso played in that final having finally recovered for the last five games of the season and he could feel the pain of those leaving.

He said: “In that first season I learned so much about the Scottish culture and the players and it really helped me when I began to play regularly for the team.

“I knew about the passion for the club and that was very important for me.”

Advocaat made him the captain when he took over in the summer of 1998 and rebuilt the team with a £30million spending spree and Amoruso lifted his first trophy in the League Cup Final in November 1998 when Rangers defeated St Johnstone 2-1.

A winter break trip to Florida bonded the new team together and they went on a powerful surge in the second half of the season famously winning the title at Parkhead with a stunning 3-0 victory amid a backdrop of hostile behaviour from the home fans, one of whom wounded referee Hugh Dallas with a coin.

Amoruso lifted the Scottish Cup a few weeks later becoming only the fifth Rangers’ captain to win the Treble following Gough, Greig (who did it twice), Shearer and Young.

He had shown his bravery in that final throwing his body in the way of a Paul Lambert shot and blocking it with his chest as Celtic sought an equalising goal.

He said: “Winning the championship that season was unbelievable because it was the first time that the club has won it at Celtic Park and we played so well that day.

“The fans were signing and cheering and it was the most incredible experience.”

Domestically, Rangers sailed through the next season winning the title with six games to spare but Amoruso missed out on the 4-0 Scottish Cup Final romp over Aberdeen when he agreed to have knee surgery in order to be ready for UEFA Champions League qualifiers the following season.

He put the club before himself and it paid off as Rangers made it to the group stages for the second year running but as the 2000/01 season progressed it was clear all was not well within the Rangers camp and the malaise coincided with Celtic’s renaissance under Martin O’Neill.

Advocaat made Amoruso a very public scapegoat when he stripped him of the captaincy and replaced him with Barry Ferguson, who was just 22. The Italian came very close to leaving Rangers then and remains frosty towards The Little General.

He said: “It hurt me badly and my first instinct was to stop playing for Rangers. I spoke with my agent and I told him to get me out of Rangers right away because I could not work with this man.

“I had some talks that summer with Sunderland and West Ham but we could not reach any agreement and they could not reach any agreement with Rangers.

“The chairman urged me to stay and eventually he persuaded me to sign a new contract.”

Rangers struggled again to cope with Celtic in the 2001/02 season and although Advocaat delivered post-Christmas European football for the first time in nine years, he moved aside to let Alex McLeish take over when he “moved upstairs” to become director of football before leaving Rangers for good in the summer of 2002.

He said: “Alex came in and what he did was encourage players like me, Ronald de Boer, Stefan Klos, Claudio Caniggia, Craig Moore and Barry to take responsibility and become the main men and that’s what happened.”

“The key was winning the League Cup semi-final against Celtic. We had been on a bad run against them and we knew we had to win this match to show we were back.

“It was a great night. It went to extra time and Bert Konterman won the match with a tremendous strike.”

Rangers won the Final beating Ayr United and then they defeated Celtic 3-2 in an epic Scottish Cup Final with Peter Lovenkrands heading a last-gasp winner.

Amoruso was honoured for his efforts when he was voted Scottish PFA Player of the Year by his peers.

The pendulum had swung and Rangers, revitalised under McLeish, stormed to an amazing Treble in the 2002/03 season with Amoruso at the centre of it all.

They beat Celtic in the League Cup Final 2-1 although there was a moment of agony in the final moments when Amoruso conceded a penalty. John Hartson hit his effort wide and Amoruso celebrated like a man possessed.

The league title looked odds on as they held a five-point lead with five games to go but they lost the final Old Firm game of the season 2-1 at home.

A nerve-shredding 2-2 draw at Dens Park, Dundee in which Ferguson missed two penalties exacerbated the stress and the championship went down to the final day with Rangers and Celtic level on points and goal difference but Rangers ahead by virtue of scoring one more goal.

It left the tantalising scenario where as long as Rangers, at home to Dunfermline, matched Celtic’s result at Kilmarnock then they would be crowned champions.

Unsurprisingly the tension was unbearable and in one of the most remarkable days in Scottish football the Old Firm traded goals in their pursuit of the crown.

Celtic beat Kilmarnock 4-0 at Rugby Park and missed a penalty while Rangers thumped Dunfermline 6-1 at Ibrox to win the title on goal difference.

It was incredible stuff and the noise inside Ibrox was deafening.

A week later, resplendent in white, Rangers went to Hampden in pursuit of a clean sweep with Dundee standing in their way.

Amoruso knew it would be his last match. McLeish had explained financial difficulties at the club dictated that it would be better for all parties if he moved on.

It was far from a classic game, but it produced its own tearful drama with Amoruso scoring the only goal of the game in what was his final appearance for Rangers.

He said: “It was a fantastic season and we played really well. It came down to the last game of the season and we beat Dunfermline 6-1 to win the title.

“We went into the cup final looking for the Treble and it was a very hot day in Scotland. Dundee made it very hard for us but with 15 minutes to go Neil McCann delivered a great ball and I managed to head it into the net.

“When the whistle blew I felt cold as if my feet were in an ice bath. I knew I was leaving so I had mixed emotions.”

The larger than life Italian moved to Blackburn Rovers but his career rather petered out through a series of injuries and he returned to Italy in 2006.

Born: 28 June, 1971, Bari, Italy

Appearances: 226

Goals: 24

Honours won with Rangers

League (3) – 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2002/03

Scottish Cup (3) – 1998/99, 2001/02, 2002/03

League Cup (3) – 1998/99, 2001/02, 2002/03