During the final match of the Euro 2020 between England and Italy, Giorgio Chiellini, the Italian Captain, was heard yelling ‘Kiricocho!’ at Bukayo Saka. A curse that’s been used by footballers for decades to impart bad luck on the opposition.
Right as the young English player was stepping up to take the most important kick of his career, Chiellini yelled the word at the top of his lungs, after which the penalty was saved, and Italy won the tournament.
In a later interview, when questioned if it was true that the Italian captain put a “curse” on Bukayo Saka, he openly admitted it on video.
“Hello Christian, I confirm everything! Kiricocho!”
— ESPN Argentina (@ESPNArgentina) July 12, 2021
The curse originates from Juan Carlos’ Kiricocho’, or Quiricocho, A hardcore supporter of the Argentinian club ‘Estudiantes de la Plata’ during the 1980s.
The fan even attended some of the club’s training sessions, but Estudiantes head coach Carlos Bilardo began to notice that his players mysteriously seemed to get injured whenever Kiricocho was present.
Bilardo, as the legend goes, told Kiricocho to attend training sessions of Estudiantes’ rivals, hoping to utilize his powers to help rather than hurt his side.
“Kiricocho was a kid from La Plata who was always with us, and since that year we were champions [in 1982], we adopted him as our mascot,” Bilardo once remarked.
“He was a good kid but then I didn’t see him again. The last time I was coaching Estudiantes [in 2003-04] I asked after him and nobody knew anything.”
Since then, the term has evolved into a famous curse among footballers around the World.
However, football is not the only game with its superstitions. Surprisingly enough, many famous athletes around the world have their own unique ‘curses and superstitions.’
Micheal Jordan, the five-time MVP, wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game. In order to cover his lucky pair, Jordan began wearing longer shorts, which inspired a trend in the NBA.
Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan pacer, would always kiss the ball at the start of his run-up. According to the legendary bowler, he gave a gentle puff over the ball whenever he walked in to deliver his next ball, which in his belief, would bring good fortune.