Stars of the EURO a superstitious bunch

Stevie Wonder sang that "superstition ain't the way" but there are plenty of footballers at EURO 2016 - and those at past European Championships - that seem to disagree with him.

Laurent Blanc

Barthez and Blanc Source: Getty Images



From hugging goalposts, being the last onto the field and kissing a team mates head, pre-game rituals play a major role for many football stars.

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The European Championship winning France side from 2000 took superstition to another level with players sitting on the same bus seat all tournament, listening to Gloria Gaynor's 'I will survive' in the sheds and Laurent Blanc kissing the head of goal keeper Fabien Barthez before each game. 

With the quarter-finals stage of EURO 2016 kicking off on Friday in Marseille, players from all eight remaining teams will be doing everything they can to help their team get across the line.



You will never see Wales manager Chris Coleman without his suit jacket on, for example. Why? Well, right at the start of his reign, his Wales team were thumped 6-1 in a World Cup qualifier by Serbia.

"It was really hot that night so I took my suit jacket off," he said.


"So since then, no matter what, I've kept my jacket on because I don't want to experience that again."



The Italy squad, too, has a number of rituals. One is that, before each game, a different player has to give a speech. It seemed to pay off in their round-of-16 match.

"This time it was my turn," said Emanuele Giaccherini after his team's 2-0 defeat of holders Spain.

"I said that this was a game that we had to win with the heart."

Portugal's talisman Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly has a great many superstitions that must be carried out prior to a game.

If travelling to a game by plane, he has to be first off; by bus, last off; and he has to put his right foot onto the grass first when taking to the pitch.

Germany forward Mario Gomez used to extend his superstitions to his pre-match call of nature - in his younger days, he would only ever use the urinal on the left. Thankfully, he seems to have outgrown that.

"If it's free, I still always use the one on the left, but if someone's using the one on the left, I go on the right."



For some teams, the rituals just did not work out. England's players displayed a bizarre attachment to a cuddly lion named Leo, who took his place on the bench for their last-16 game against Iceland.

Leo, however, could only look on as the team shared his fate in getting stuffed.


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Published 30 June 2016 at 9:12am
Source: SBS