The Most Bizarre Pre-Match Rituals And Superstitions In Football
As a young lad, I used to have a pre-match superstition. I always used to wear my socks above my knees. I know, stupid right? The thought process I had back then was 'if Thierry Henry can score so many goals wearing his socks so high, then I can.'
Unfortunately, the superstition didn't always work but i kept on doing it. 'One day I will turn and hit an absolute screamer from 30 yards' i kept telling myself - but it never materialised. Shock.
This made me think. Are there any footballers, past or present, who are/were superstitious before or after a game? The only case i had heard of previously was Kolo Toure and his insistence to be last when departing from the tunnel.
So I did my research and found some of the craziest superstitions and pre-match rituals in football. You're in for a treat, here.
The former Manchester United man will not play a game unless he's gotten a fresh haircut beforehand, according to reports. At the 2014 World Cup, he had to be the first member of the Portuguese national team to enter the pitch. HE JUST HAD TO.
Unlike Ronaldo, Kolo Toure insists on being the last player from his team to walk onto the playing field. He once missed the start of the second half of a Champions League game because he was waiting for a teammate to precede him.
During his time in the French national side at the 1998 World Cup, he kissed Fabien Barthez's head before each game. France went on to beat Brazil 3-0 in the final in Paris. IT WORKED.
He made over 1000 appearances in his career but it may not have been so many if he failed to prepare before a game. One of James' rituals included going into the urinals, waiting until they were empty and spitting on the wall.
The Match of the Day presenter is one of England's most prolific goalscorers and this may the secret behind his success - Lineker chose not to shoot during the pre-match warm up through fear of "wasting" the goals. 300 goals later...
Before every game, the former MK Dons, Cardiff City, Port Vale, Huddersfield and Grimsby player watches the 1971 film, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory - "I have to watch it before every game. It gets me in the right mood. It's been my favourite film since I was little - it calms my nerves and gives me luck."
Pisa president Romeo Anconetani would throw salt onto the pitch at the Arena Garibaldi before every game. The bigger the game, the more salt that the president would throw on the pitch.
FACT: When Pisa faced their local rivals Cesena in an important game, Anconetani arranged for 26kg of the stuff to be thrown on the turf.
Well, that was weird!