Some people are superstitious whereas others consider it ridiculous. Football is rife with superstitions, many of which are very amusing. Take for example the luck of football kits; Pelé, the Brazilian legend, once sent a friend of his to find a fan to whom he had given one of his football shirts, as he wasn’t playing well. About a week later his friend came back and gave him the shirt and Pelé was back on form again. What he didn’t know is that his friend did not find the shirt so have him one that he had worn in a previous match.
Known in Spain as San Casillas (Saint Casillas), the Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas shaved off his beard after the 2010 World Cup win over Honduras as he realised he hadn’t had a beard for the victorious Euro 2008 campaign. Spain then went on the win the World Cup 2010.
Maradona who is famously superstitious has often been seen pacing around, with rosary beads in his hands during a match but he went one step further for the 2010 Football World Cup. He apparently considered that his grandson was his ‘cabala’ (lucky charm) so said grandson Benjamin was flown into South Africa for this purpose.
One of his predecessors Carlos Bilardo, who guided Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986, had a great selection of superstitions. He faithfully carried a statue of the Virgin Mary to every match and believed that newlywed brides were central to success. Bilardo banned his team from eating chicken as he felt that this brought bad luck.
In Mexico in the group stages, the Argentinian team bus broke down en route to a match so they had to take taxis. As they then went on to win this match Bilardo saw a connection between the mode of transport and winning, so he insisted that the team continued to get taxis for the remainder of the tournament.
The Dutch football legend, Johan Cruyff, while playing at Ajax used to slap his goalie, Gert Bals, in the stomach and then spit his chewing gum into the opposition’s half just before kick-off. In 1969 in the final of the European cup, Cruyff had forgotten his chewing gum and Ajax lost to Milan 4-1.
Queens Park Rangers Manager, Neil Warnock, has a superstition that could prove dangerous. If they are on a winning run he will stop his car at every single set of traffic lights, even when the lights are green!
These are just a few of the many fun football superstitions, from not eating chicken to Pelé’s football kit concerns.