When you talk about supersitions in soccer, we’re not going to the extent of Howard Hughes proportions, well that wasn’t just superstition that was obsessive-compulsive disorder, but many soccer players and coaches have routines or things they do when they’re teams is on a winning streak or before a big game that verge on a compulsion. But it’s more a compulsion for winning and doing anything to keep winning than anything else. It’s a bit strange, yes, but if you’re on a hot streak you’re willing to do some crazy things to keep winning.
These soccer supperstitions could include a special meal or pre-game song, the way they tie their shoes or wear their socks, or a shirt they wear under their jersey, not shaving or growing their hair out until the winning streak ends, and so on. But some go to greater lengths: changing a jersey if they don’t score, wearing a certain shirt under their uniform for every game, not talking on a game day, and so on.
A superstition could lean more to a ritual though, say the way you like to wear your uniform and gear. Socks have to be a certain way. Tape applied to shin guards so they stay up and on. Shirt has to be untucked, if you can get away with it. Maybe you need to make a good tackle or touch the ball early in a game. Below are a few of the more classic soccer supersitions and pre-game rituals from some of the top professional footballers in the game.
Soccer Players Superstitions
Luis Suarez If there’s one thing that Suarez always has to have before he plays it’s yerba mate. Suarez doesn’t go anywhere without it. Honestly, I don’t know if Suarez could score goals if he didn’t drink it.
John Terry The defender wees in one specific urinal in the dressing room toilets at Stamford Bridge when he’s playing in a home game at Chelsea. If the spot is taken he waits until he can use it even though there are others free.
Landon Donovan Certainly before big games, say in the World Cup, Donovan usually used some sort of smelling salt right before the kick off.
Rio Ferdinand Pours water down his face in the tunnel before he enters the field and he jumps over every white line every time he steps on the ptich area.
Gary Neville Another defender from England national squad admits: “I’ve got lots of superstitions. I try to cut them down as I have too many. I wear the same belts, same shoes, same aftershave – I’ve worn the same aftershave all season…Just stupid things really. If we’ve been on a winning run of games I won’t change my boots. Someone pointed out to me last year that I’ve worked all my life to be a professional footballer, and yet it comes down to which aftershave I’m wearing as to how well I play!”
Gary Lineker Former striker didn’t shoot at the goal during warm ups because he didn’t want to waste a goal. He believed that in this way he will save the goals for the game. If he wouldn’t manage to score in the first half he changed the shirt. Also if he had a bad run where he wasn’t scoring he’d get a haircut.
Adrian Mutu Declared: ‘Curses cannot touch me because I wear my underwear inside out.’
Sergio Goycochea No longer keeps goal for Argentina. After all, the legendary keeper’s routine for facing penalties – which, until the final of Italy 1990, was remarkably successful – involved him hitch up his shorts and urinating on the pitch.
Lionel Messi There’s one player who’s not like all the other though. Messi has said in the past that he actually has zero superstitions or pre-game rituals that he has to do.
David Beckham Is known to be a bit obsessive compulsive, to the degree that he would rearrange hotel rooms to line everything up or even require that there was an even number of things like drinks in the fridge.
Steven Gerrard Like a lot of players at Liverpool, Gerrard would put his hand on the "This is Anfield" sign before heading out to the field. While not such a crazy superstition, I’m sure if he forgot he’d run off the field right before kick off and touch the sign.
Dennis Bergkamp While maybe not a superstition, Bergkamp stopped flying on planes after the World Cup in the United States. He’d just had enough of it and had so much anxiety and stress about it that he felt better just driving to games and skipping any game that would require him to fly. This was later in his career and he was still able to play in most games that took place in Europe.
Soccer Coaches Superstitions
Carlos Bilardo The great ex Argentina coach, relied on a lucky tie he wore throughout the 1986 and 1990 world cup final tournaments.
Giovanni Trapattoni Italy’s coach relied on a greater power than ties, toothpaste or lucky numbers. He was often seen sprinkling holy water from a bottle provided by his sister, who is a nun.
Raymond Domenech The French coach made the admission that he takes players’ star signs into consideration before selecting his team.
Stuart Pearce Kept a luck mascot (Beanie the Horse) on the bench when he was coach of Manchester City. Don’t know how much that helped Pearce is team though.
After a Goal Superstitions
There are also certain rituals or types of celebrations that players do each time they score. Some players point to the sky to honor a loved one who’s passed. Clint Dempsey, points to the sky after each goal to remember his sister, who died when at the age of 16 when he was just 12 years old. She fainted and had a brain aneurism.
Kaká, of AC Milan points up to the heavens after he scores. A gesture of thanks to God, as Kaka is heavily religious and overcame a nearly life threatening injury.
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