Soccer superstitions and rituals play a big part in the game.
Soccer is a sport that has many superstitions and rituals. Some players may wear certain clothing articles. Others may perform rituals that boost their confidence. While most of these acts may seem strange, they can be crucial to a player’s routine, dictating performance during a match.
Ever wonder what weird superstition or ritual your favorite soccer player performs? Let’s find out.
Gonzalo Higuain’s Single Leg Hop
Gonzalo Higuain has a unique ritual on entering the pitch before a game or when subbed in. He will stand on the sideline and enter the pitch by hopping on his left foot three times, then touching the pitch with his right hand.
He then proceeds to cross himself with his right hand and kiss it three times. This soccer ritual gives Gonzalo a great sense of confidence before every game.
Karim Benzema’s Bandaged Hand
During a match in January 2019 against Real Betis, Karim broke his pinky finger on the right hand. Doctors advised him that he would need surgery which would sideline him for several months. Karim refused and instead asked Real Madrid personal trainers to bandage the right hand before every game for the rest of the season. Karim scored a total of 14 La Liga goals after sustaining his injury.
It became a part of Karim, and he has played every game since with the signature bandage, even though the injury happened more than 4 years ago at the time of this writing. Most now believe that he has developed a soccer superstition that the bandage makes him play better.
Luis Suarez’s Finger Kiss
Luis Suarez has made many goals in his career. Throughout the years, his goal-scoring celebrations have evolved. Now a husband and father of three, Suarez always remembers to honor and dedicate every goal to his wife Sofia and three children. After scoring a goal, Suarez proceeds to kiss his thumb, then his index, and his middle finger.
Each of those three kisses is in honor of his three children. He then finalizes the celebration by kissing his ring finger in honor of his wife. This soccer celebration ritual is special to Suarez and gives him the belief that more goals will continue to come.
Johan Cruyff Pregame Chewing Gum Ritual
The legend Johan Cruyff had a very interesting pregame ritual. He always chewed gum during warmups. Before every match, he would slap the belly of his goalkeeper Gert Bals and then proceed to spit his chewing gum on the opponent’s half of the field. It was a soccer ritual that he felt would bring his team good luck.
Thibaut Courtois Chin Touch
The sensational Belgium goalkeeper has a specific pregame soccer ritual that goes unnoticed unless you pay close attention. He performs this ritual solely when playing for the Belgium National Team.
During Belgium’s national anthem, Thibaut touches his chin with his right hand. Thibaut truly believes that this pregame ritual brings him good luck when playing for his country.
Jack Grealish’s Worn-Out Boots
While playing at Aston Villa, Jack Grealish developed a superstition that really shook some heads. Most soccer players usually wear a brand-new pair of soccer boots for every new match. Jack, however, wore the same pair of boots because he thought it would bring him and his team great luck.
He wore the boots for so long that they began to fall apart. Eventually, Aston Villa was promoted back into the Premiere League. Some believe that Jack’s strange soccer superstition of wearing his lucky pair of worn-out boots helped the team with the promotion.
John Terry Pregame Urinal Ritual
While playing at Chelsea, one day right before a match, John used one of the three available urinals in the Chelsea locker room. His teammate Frank Lampard used the same urinal after John had finished urinating. Chelsea ended up winning the match. Going forward, John and Frank used the same urinal every single time right before a match because they thought it would bring them good luck.
Eventually, other team members wanted to join this pregame soccer ritual which sometimes led to the Chelsea team arriving late on the pitch. Imagine a long line of Chelsea soccer players waiting to use the same urinal before every single home match.
Malvin Kamara and the Chocolate Factory
Malvin’s favorite movie of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It is a movie that brings him good feelings and emotions. Before a match, Malvin would sometimes watch the entire movie because it calmed him down and brought him good luck.
Talk about dedication toward a soccer superstition. The movie is over an hour long. Malvin really took his superstitious beliefs seriously.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Plane Exit
Cristiano is a world-class player. He has maintained his form for over 20 years. When one is regarded as the best, certain soccer superstitions and rituals usually occur so that greatness can continue.
It is well-documented that Cristiano Ronaldo always ensures he is the first player to exit the team plane when traveling. Cristiano must think that this ritual will bring him much success and luck.
Mohamed Salah Last on Pitch
Mohamed Salah is regarded as one of the best players currently playing the game. He is a leader of men and a fierce competitor. For some time, Mohammed has developed a superstitious pregame soccer ritual that involves him lining up at the end of the line as his team prepares to enter the pitch.
He always hugs the team manager, Jurgen Klopp, and then stands at the back of the line. This ritual ensures that he is the last player to enter the pitch.
Erling Haaland Pregame Home Meal
Erling has a pregame soccer ritual that may not seem all too bad. Before every single home match, Erling eats a home-cooked lasagna made by his dad, Alfie. It is a healthy meal that comforts him and gives him the necessary nutrition to be a beast on the pitch. It is well documented that Erling takes great measures to eat as clean and healthy as possible.
Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola has even joked about Erling’s pregame ritual. He once said: “We can make an offer for Erling’s father to cook for us. If this is the secret of Erling’s goals, I will convince Khaldoon to bring him here!”.
Soccer superstitions and rituals have been a part of the sport for many years and continue to be prevalent today. Players and fans alike often believe that these practices can influence the outcome of a game or bring good luck to their team. Whether hopping on one leg three times, eating home-cooked lasagna before every home match, being the last player on the pitch, or watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory before a match, these actions are deeply ingrained in soccer culture.
While no scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of these soccer superstitions and rituals, their psychological effect on players cannot be underestimated. Participating in these practices can provide a sense of control and confidence, which may ultimately enhance their performance on the pitch.
In the end, soccer superstitions and rituals are a unique and interesting aspect of the sport that add to its culture and tradition. While some may view them as mere superstitions, they serve a significant purpose in players’ psychological makeup and perception of the game.