In addition to the hours and hours of training, the rigid diets, and the game plan, there is an aspect of strange football superstitions as well that goes into a football match. Believe it or not, some of your favorite football stars follow weird sports rituals that they think will help them ace a match.
We can’t blame them, however. When it comes to the expectations of millions and millions of fans, you need every ounce of luck you can get!
Let’s take a look at some of the strangest football superstitions ever.
Weird Sports Rituals in Football Matches
Here are a few weird football superstitions your favorite footballers follow.
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Christiano Ronaldo is synonymous with hard work, hard work, and more hard work. However, you may not believe it, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner also follows a few ‘quirks’ before his crucial matches. These include disembarking first while traveling to a game, putting his right foot on the grass first, and standing the exact way before the free-kicks.
Superstitions or not, they have worked well for Ronaldo as he has bagged three titles of the premier league, two of the La Liga titles, five titles of the Champions League, one Serie A title, four European Golden Shoes, 5 Ballon d’Or awards, and one Euro title.
1998 France World Cup Team
Even though they came to the finals with their skill and hard work, there was also one strange ritual the France team had. The defender, Laurent Blanc would kiss the shaved head of the goalkeeper, Fabien Barthez. Believe it or not, as they started piling up their wins, the entire French team started kissing the goalkeeper’s shaved head, believing it brought them luck!
Derby County, when moving to a new stadium in 1895, had to evict a bunch of gypsies who lived there. The gypsies allegedly cursed Derby County, saying that the team would never win another FA Cup. Everyone thought the curse was a hoax and that nothing would happen, but it was something that stayed in the minds of the fans.
In the years 1898, 1899, and 1904, Derby County reached the finals and lost. When they didn’t win another final for the next forty years, the fans started believing in the curse.
After those long forty years in 1946, Derby County reached an FA Cup final. Fans pleaded that the curse be lifted because it was enough of a punishment already.
During the match, the ball burst and prevented a goal by Derby. Fans took it as a sign of the curse lifting. Surprisingly, Derby County won the FA Cup 4-1 that day!
The former AC Pisa president, former Italian footballer and manager, Romeo Anconetani also followed weird sports rituals. He used to throw salt on the pitch before crucial matches—the amount of salt increasing depending on the importance of the match.
Once, during an important football match with Cesena, Anconetani spread as much as 26 kg of salt on the four corners of Arena Garibaldi!
The history of Birmingham City goes a long way back when the director Harry Morris evicted some gypsies from a piece of land that later became St Andrews Stadium in 1906. The curse of those gypsies followed Birmingham City for the next hundred years, preventing them from winning any game.
In the 1980s, former manager Ron Saunders tried lifting the curse by placing crucifixes on the floodlights and having the players’ boots painted red, but to no avail.
Barry Fry, in charge of the team (1993-1996) used to urinate on the four corners of the pitch before a game to banish the curse after a psychic told him to, but that didn’t work either.
In 2006 however, on Boxing Day, the club finally won 2-1 against Queens Park Rangers and celebrated the curse being lifted.
When the Brazilian legend, Pele gave his match shirt to a fan, he suffered a dip in his form. He then told a friend to track down the fan and get the shirt back. Luckily, he got his shirt back from the fan a week later. He later went back to his own great way of playing and got back on track.
What Pele’s friend did not tell him before was that he never got the original shirt back and gave him another one. If Pele’s friend had not lied to him about the shirt, his career might have been quite different!
This is another one of the weird sports rituals in which Sergio Goycochea, the Argentinian goalkeeper would urinate on the pitch before each penalty shoot-out.
The Guardian reports Goycochea saying that at the end of the match against Yugoslavia in 1990, he had to go and he couldn’t abandon the field, so he had no other choice than to urinate on the pitch. His team won, and when the semi-final came against Italy and went to the penalties, he did it again, and his team won again. So from that point on, he always did it before the shoot-outs.
These were a few weird sports rituals that footballers and football teams around the world follow. As long as the team wins, who cares if superstitions are just superstitions, right?