Soccer Stars and Their Superstitions

Published: 27th July 2009
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Most of us are superstitious about small little things. But when the stakes are big, the superstitions become bigger! Our favorite soccer players are no different.

They are known to have their idiosyncrasies when it comes to the numbers on their soccer shirts to which socks they put on first! Their superstitions verge on the weird to the harmless, from the unbelievable to the cute! Let's take a look at some famous ones who are (in)famous for their strange ones!

The absolute winner has to be Argentinean goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. Not only is he remembered for his heroic penalty shot saves back in 1990, but also for his superstition that peeing in the centre of the pitch is lucky for the team before shootouts! So, his team mates obliged by building a circle around him, blocking him from view while he did his job! During the 1993 Copa America, Goycochea repeated this ritual prior to penalty shootouts while playing against Brazil and Colombia! And Argentina went on to win the competition!

If the earlier superstition led a team to victory, this next one almost caused a diplomatic disaster! Luis Aragon├ęs, Spain's ex-coach, disliked the color yellow to such an extent, he once made captain Raul change the yellow jersey he'd worn for training! And that's not all! It's said that during his career, his team went to Germany for a competition, and on arrival they were welcomed with a bouquet of yellow flowers, which the coach refused to accept!

Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, who coached the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Portugal as well as his home team, was often seen sprinkling holy water given to him by his sister, who's a nun! But he made sure to sprinkle it only on his part of the field! Another Italian, Gennaro Gattuso of AC Milan, went to such extremes during the 2006 FIFA World Cup that he wore the same sweater right through the competition! He admits it put him in the foulest of moods since he was sweating buckets, but still couldn't get himself to take the sweater off! And if that's not enough, this midfielder would read a few pages of Dostoevsky before each game! This too developed into a superstition he found hard to break, just in case...

Leeds United ex-manager Don Revie was superstitious about a particular suit and made it a point to wear it to every game until his team lost while he had it on! English defender Gary Neville admits wearing the same shoes, belt, aftershave all season long! If he's on a winning streak, he refuses to change his boots! Even Chelsea's superstar Frank Lampard confesses that he has his share of superstitions such as listening to the same music on the way to the stadium!

Getting back to another former Argentinean coach, Carlos Bilardo, not only did he wear a lucky tie, he also carried a statuette of the Virgin Mary to all games. And he banned his players from consuming chicken since he believed it brought bad luck! Bilardo had a weird habit of linking unrelated things to victories! His team's bus broke down once and they had to take taxis to get to the game on time. They went on to win that game and from that day on, Bilardo made his players arrive for games in taxis! He even made his 22 players file past a bride on her wedding day and shake hands with her one by one during the 1986 World Cup! Why?! Brides bring luck, that's why! The very next day, Maradona, who was equally superstitious about wearing the number 10 soccer uniform, led Argentina to victory against Brazil! Now, can you deny a man his superstition if it resulted in Brazil's defeat?!

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