Friggatriskaidekaphobic? Then you are afraid of Friday the 13th. No confirmed theory exists about how this superstition started and why this date was chosen as one for bad luck and accidents. Yet many feel that it’s a day when tragedy is sure to happen. And how do many combat the notion that this is a day of misfortune? Of course with what else, but with more superstitions.
Athletes are well known for their superstitions. There are rituals performed before or during games that are thought to prevent a loss or a bad performance. If it works, keep it going. If it doesn’t, find another one that will. The soccer world is no exception.
Players noted for their rituals and superstitions:
Paul Ince (609 professional appearances, 53 England caps, Blackpool manager) always had to be the last to leave the locker room. He would run to the field, and when there, he had to be the last to put on his jersey.
Kolo Toure (Liverpool and Ivory Coast) likes to be the last to come on the pitch.
Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal) will not shoot towards the goal in warm-ups before the game starts.
If Gary Lineker (466 professional appearances, 80 England caps) didn’t score by halftime, he’d change his shirt.
Steve Bould (500 professional appearances, current Arsenal assistant manager) always put his watch in the right pocket of his pants.
Johann Cruyff (520 professional appearances, 48 caps for the Netherlands) would spit his chewing gum onto the opposing team’s half before kick-off.
The players on the 1998 World Cup winning France team would sit in the same seats on the team bus and listen to the 1970’s hit “I will survive” in the dressing room.
If his team was winning, Gary Neville (400 professional appearances, 85 England caps) kept wearing the same cleats. He would also keep wearing the same aftershave.
Carlos Bilardo (Left) (460 professional appearances, general manager of the Argentina national team) made the players always sit in the same seats on the bus, drive the same route to the stadium, and would not let his players eat chicken.
In the most bizarre superstition/tradition of all, Kazakhstani team FC Shakhter Karagandy sacrifices a sheep on the day before a game. This worked as they won their opening leg against Celtic in this year’s Champions League. The sheep, however, was not quite so lucky.