Sat 21 November 2020 | 19:30

Top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals

Irrational as they might seem, even the best footballers in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney need luck sometimes. Here we run through the top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals and supernatural beliefs.

Many people have superstitions to bring them good luck and footballers are no different. However, very few of these good luck superstitions seem to make any sense!

Some players will go to extreme lengths in their pursuit of three points, a goal, or a clean sheet, using some peculiar pre-match traditions in the belief that it will give them an advantage on the pitch.

It is fairly common in dressing rooms worldwide for some players to comply with their own pre-match rules and stipulations as they prepare for the match ahead.

Top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals

include putting on the left sock before the right one or doing some routine things like sitting on the same chair. Off the pitch, they might refuse to walk underneath a ladder because they believe it will bring them good luck or will shield them from unfortunate outcomes.

If you think something as simple as keeping the same seat on the team bus will cut it, wait until you read the length some players will go to ensure a trophy.

They make Laurent Blanc planting a smacker on the bald head of Fabien Barthez before each match at the 1998 World Cup look tame.

It’s not just the players who have their own superstitions.


boss Jurgen Klopp refused to touch the ‘This is Anfield’ sign at Liverpool’s stadium until he won a major trophy. The German also turned around for James Milner's penalty vs.

Manchester City


He didn’t watch penalties during his time at Borussia Dortmund and continued his superstition for a while in England.

Top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals are to give meaning to the random nature of luck. Some say it has a religious or a spiritual reason while others say it gives them a mental advantage ahead of an important match.

Many of the players tend to wear their right footgear first as they hope it will bring them good luck. But, there are players that tend to do some unusual and bizarre pre-game rituals.

We have reviewed some of the top footballers' weird pre-game rituals in football:

With all the hours they spend on training, working on their talent and preparing their bodies for match day, you'd think they would be ready for the battle. But that's not the case for those who believe in superstitions, those who will do anything to get that additional bit of luck before a major game with these unbelievable rituals.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Five Ballons d'Or and four European Golden Shoes winner,

Cristiano Ronaldo

dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM, born 5 February 1985, believes in superstitions and has some weird pre-game rituals.

Reviewing top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals for good luck, we came across the greatest footballer ever, Ronaldo, who has a great repertoire of gestures and rituals.

During the 2012 European Championships, Ronaldo repeated some of his best known rituals and also provided his fans with some new ones. These quirks make him different, regardless of his status as a footballer.

He is the only Portugal player, apart from keeper Rui Patricio, who always plays in a long-sleeved shirt.

Before the start of every game, he always combs his hair in a different way and changes it at half time on many occasions.

The list of

pre-game rituals of famous footballers

is full of the Juventus stars habits. He always steps onto the field with his right foot first and likes to be the last player to do so, but now he is Portugal captain, he has to enter first. He removes the captain’s armband as soon as the game ends.

He doesn’t choose the music for the changing room anymore, after being the man in charge of this task for some time. Raul Meireles and Miguel Veloso have taken over.

When he gets changed, he focuses on the game and always likes a touch of the ball in the changing room, while talking to his teammates about the pieces of play to be executed on the pitch.

He always knows where his family is sitting when he enters the field and when he scores a goal or the game finishes, he waves at them.

On the Portugal team bus, he sits at the back and is always one of the last to get off. However, when travelling by plane, he always sits in the first row with Pepe and is one of the first to get off.

Jurgen Klopp

We included both pre-game rituals of famous footballers and managers. As an example of pre-game rituals, Klopp refused to touch the ‘This is Anfield’ sign at Liverpool’s stadium prior to winning a major trophy.

“I touched it while I was at Dortmund. I played here in a friendly and we lost 5-0," Klopp told reporters before winning the Champions League with the Reds. The German boss also refused to watch his own team taken penalties.

Klopp also didn’t watch penalties during his time as Borussia Dortmund’s manager and continued his superstition in England.

"I would say that in general I’m not superstitious but when we shoot penalties it probably says something completely different," Klopp said.

“I don’t want to touch wood, but I hope it stays like this,” the manager told Liverpoolfc.com.

“The only reason I don’t watch them is because from the start of the season he is doing a job well without my support. So that’s why – I don’t want to be responsible if he fails one or misses one! That’s the only reason.”

However, it seems as though the Liverpool boss has recently reversed that habit.

Luis Suarez

FC Barcelona’s striker,

Luis Suarez

also has his accessories which attracted public attention. He always wears a protector on his right wrist. Reading about the pre-game rituals of famous footballers is quite interesting but, what actually underlies the use of the protector on his right wrist?

Since moving from Liverpool to


, Luis Suarez has increasingly shown his brightest ability. For several seasons defending La Blaugrana, this player almost always wore a blue bandage on his right wrist, which was wrapped around his thumb even though he was known to have no problems with any of his body parts.

Luis Suarez also tried to share stories about this. He revealed that the wrist protector was first used while he was still playing for Liverpool.

As reported, Suarez said, “A few years ago, I was injured while playing for Liverpool. The bone of my right hand cracked and the doctor pressed it,”

But after recovering, Suarez did not necessarily release the burden. He was actually comfortable and addicted to using objects on his right wrist.

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Suarez considered if the bandage that adorned his right hand always gave him luck. Furthermore, it is not permissible to wear accessories in the Premier League to be the reason why he did not want to take off his favorite object.

“After recovering, I then decided to keep wearing it. I made it for covering the red ribbon which was believed to bring good luck since, in England, they forbid us to wear any accessories when competing, “

For Suarez, this has now become a habit. He almost never forgot to wear a wrist protector, even when he was wearing a long sleeve costume.

That is what he calls tradition. Suarez indeed often does unusual things. Another thing that is often done by Suarez is that he often smells tattoos on his hands every time he enters the field. These various kinds of things then become a ‘ritual’ for Suarez to win the match.

“There are several other insanities. Every time I enter the field, I always smell the tattoos of the names of my daughter and wife. Yes, we as football players, do believe in superstition, “

Wayne Rooney

Weird rituals on the football pitch include eating habits too. Rather than eating the traditional pre-game meal of chicken or steak,

Wayne Rooney

prefers eating a bowl of cereals. His favorite is the Coco Pops and he is very particular about it.

They make the milk more chocolatey, so is it any wonder Wazza's pregame snack of choice is to wolf down a bowl of his favorite cereal, Coco Pops.

"I tend to have just a bowl of coco pops," he once admitted.

"The normal ones, not the moons and the stars."

"I tend to just have cereal before a game, probably a bowl of Coco Pops. The normal ones, not the Moons and Stars,"

The England and

Manchester United

top scorer, currently working as an assistant coach at Derby County Football Club, insists that he isn't superstitious at all and doesn't have any other pre-game ritual.

Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois, born 11 May 1992, is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Spanish.

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Courtois is another player to showcase a rather strange ritual that brings him good luck.

The giant Belgium goalkeeper has a unique superstition he performs during his country's national anthem.

Every time he gets filmed singing along to La Brabanconne, Thibaut touches his chin for good luck. It's been spotted by eager fans online multiple times. So, touching chin is among the

strangest pre-match rituals of top footballers


Zlatan Ibrahimovic


’s ritual might not be among the weird rituals on the football pitch. While at Manchester United, he scored the goal to win the Community Shield and says the secret to his big game performances is he puts himself on a sex ban before all major games.

Zlatan’s performances on the pitch have never been questioned, and it's down to his lack of performance off the pitch, and in particular, in the bedroom that sees Zlatan stay on top of his game.

In fact, the Swedish striker imposed a pre-game sex ban on his wife Helena Seger after he had a miserable time on the pitch following a special evening with his wife the day before.

Once he said, “There are quite a few players who say that they have a lot of sex to achieve better performances.

"I’ve tried that, but for me anger is the best driving force, I notice it again and again ... If I’m angry at something or someone, then I’m really good.”

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

doesn't just leave his opponents in knots. The Gunners star, who has won La Liga, the FA Cup and the World Cup, prepares for matches by tying several knots into his boots repeatedly.

He also insists on putting the right boot on first, although it is not categorized as the strangest pre-match rituals of top footballers.

Cesc Fabregas



playmaker, Cesc has a pre-game ritual that involves his wife, Daniella Semaan... and it's not what you think.

The midfield maestro likes to kiss a ring his wife gave him four times (his lucky number) before removing the item, putting it in the locker for safe-keeping and stepping out on the pitch.

He mentioned that he isn’t superstitious at all but he feels this habit brings him good luck.

“I’m not superstitious at all but there is one thing that I started doing four years ago, it went well and I didn’t stop doing it.

“I kiss this ring that my wife gave me four times, my lucky number, and then I leave it in my locker and I go out.”

Cesc also believes in kissing his ring 4 times because 4 is his lucky number as he had that number on his shirt throughout his whole career.

Lionel Messi

Messi, the best player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time, and the six Ballon d'Or awards winner has a dead-ball routine as one of the

weird rituals on the football pitch


It's a ritual the diminutive Argentinian shares with his great rival Ronaldo before striking a free kick, and it serves Leo well.

Before taking a set-piece, the Barcelona forward places the ball down with both hands.

He then takes the same amount of steps back, spreads his legs and takes a deep breath. The end result is normally a goal.

Gareth Bale

The Welsh wizard has a number of superstitions to avoid injury. Some believe that he might need a few more.


loves to cut holes in his socks before stepping out into the Bernabeu because he believes it avoids compression on his calf muscles.

He's also stopped driving his Lamborghini Aventador Roadster to games because he believes the uncomfortable seating puts pressure on that area of his legs.

Phil Jones

The strangest pre-game rituals of top footballers include the United defender's superstition which is really unbelievable. Dependent on whether the Red Devils are playing home or away, will determine what sock he puts on first.

He revealed that, "The fixtures list United on the left side when we're at home and on the right when we're away. So this weekend, I'll put my right sock on first, because it will be Swansea v United."

"Next week, if I play against Benfica at Old Trafford, I’ll put my left sock on."

He added, "I also don’t like stepping on white lines on the pitch. When I do cross a white line, then I’ll take the first step with the foot that corresponds to whether we’re home or away.”

John Terry

While at Chelsea, the

Aston Villa

assistant manager revealed he has about 50 superstitions, including sitting in the same place on the team bus, listening to the same Usher album and parking in the same spot in the car park.

Terry even had a lucky pair of shin-pads he wore for ten seasons. John Terry has a series of pre-game rituals. The former Chelsea captain used to sit on the same seat on the bus every time.

He and his former Chelsea teammates admit using the same urinals. Even now he listens to the same Usher music to the ground.

“I am very superstitious and, for me, if we win a game then I add it onto my next superstition,”

John Terry used the same shin pads for the last 10 years before he lost them. He also used to tape his socks exactly 3 times.

Laurent Blanc

One of the lasting images of France’s 1998 World Cup win is the sight of Laurent Blanc planting a kiss on the bald head of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before each game. It clearly worked, with Les Bleus defeating Brazil 3-0 in the final.

Defender of French national football team Laurent Blanc kissed goalkeeper Fabien Barthez on the head, wishing him good luck before World Cup matches in 1998.

The hosting French team was happy about the kiss which brought them good luck. They kept on winning and moving forward as long as Blanc kissed Barthez on the head.

The French team had another superstition as well. The team was always listening to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” in the dressing room.

When they reached the final, Blanc was not able to participate in the decisive match due to disqualification. The footballers were trying to guess, who was going to replace him in the important match. It was the most discussed topic back then, just as important as knowing the winner. 

Blanc came out in ordinary sports uniform and kissed Barthez’s head before the match began.  France became the winner of the World Cup for the first time.

The tradition continued, bringing luck to France in UEFA Euro 2000 as well. When Blanc finished his career, Barthez did not let anyone else to give him the desired kiss.

Kolo Toure

Among the

top footballers’ weirdest pre-game rituals

is being the last player onto the pitch. Former Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool defender Kolo Toure insisted on being the last player onto the pitch during his playing days.

However, this had ramifications during a Champions League game for Arsenal against Roma in 2009.

<span style="font-family:times new roman,serif">

He once missed the start of the second half of a Champions League game because he was waiting for a teammate to precede him.

Toure’s center-back partner William Gallas received treatment at half-time that delayed his return for the second half.

But Toure refused to come out before Gallas and the game resumed without either of them, leaving Arsenal down to nine men.

The Ivorian was booked for his actions. Unlike Ronaldo, Kolo Toure insisted on being the last player from his team to walk onto the playing field.

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Pele, a prolific goalscorer during his playing days, suffered a dip in form after giving his match shirt to a fan.

He instructed a friend to track the shirt down and return it to him. Once he had the shirt back, the Brazilian striker returned to his best.

Pele, however, wasn’t told that the friend actually couldn’t find the original shirt and simply gave him another one.

Fortunately, Pele couldn’t tell the difference!

Malvin Kamara

Malvin Kamara played in England for a host of clubs, including Milton Keynes Dons, Cardiff City, Port Vale, and Huddersfield Town.

Before each game, Kamara made sure he watched the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

“I have to watch it before every game. It gets me in the right mood,” he explained.

“It's been my favorite film since I was little - it calms my nerves and gives me luck."

Sergio Goycochea

They say that goalkeepers are odd and former Argentina keeper Sergio Goycochea can certainly be considered as such.

Before every penalty shootout, Goycochea used to urinate on the pitch to bring himself good luck!

“You know, by the rules of the game, until the match finishes you cannot abandon the field. And if you have any necessary human urges, you have to go on the field,” Goycochea told reporters.

“So that is what happened against Yugoslavia (in the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals). At the end of the game I really had to go so I had no choice.

“But we won, so then when the semi-final against Italy went to penalties I did it again - and it worked! So from that moment on I did it before every shoot-out. It was my lucky charm.”

Johan Cruff

Holland’s greatest every player, Johan Cruyff, followed a long list of pre-match rituals.

He would slap


teammate Gert Bals, a goalkeeper, in the stomach before kick-off, and would spit a piece of chewing gum into the opponent’s half of the pitch.

“It’s odd I know, but it seems to work for me,” he claimed in 1972.

“Once I’ve gone through with my little system before the game, my mind is fully focused on what we have to do to be successful on the pitch."

The one time that Cruyff forgot his gum, in the 1969 European Cup final against

AC Milan

, Ajax were beaten 4-1.

Other top footballers’ weirdest pre-game rituals:

A lot of players put holes on their socks but


puts holes in his shoes. He used to have blisters so he does that to avoid pain. Moreover,


wears long sleeves because of Beckham. He always had long sleeves so Griezemann wanted to copy him.

Beckham who admits he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, had a peculiar habit during his heyday of making sure everything in his fridge was arranged perfectly before leaving for a game. If he had an odd number of items in the fridge, he had to put something away!

There couldn't be a condiment out of place before Beckham left his house.

Another player on the list of the top footballers weirdest pre-game rituals is


who has a sweet ritual to talk to his father just before a match both face-to-face or via a phone call.

Neymar told reporters that it helps him to boost his confidence and calms him down. Just hearing the voice of his father makes him strong. His father has been ever present in his footballing career.

He also has a close relationship with his fans and therefore posts a picture of himself on his social media before the game.

Iker Casillas has been one of the world's greatest goalkeepers, but to keep the ball out of the net Iker sets his own rules.

The Spanish shot-stopper wears specially cut shirts every game. He also likes to scratch a groove in the turf with his left foot on the edge of the box and his goal-line.

Not content with that, when his team scores, Iker goes to his goal and jumps up to touch the crossbar with his left-hand.

'The Curse of Aaron Ramsey' is a real thing, and whenever the Juventus and Wales midfielder finds the back of the net it seems to coincide with a death of a famous person on the same day or shortly after.

Since 2009, Aaron has killed off Ted Kennedy, Osama bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, Whitney Houston, Ray Williams, Boris Berezovsky, Paul Walker, Robin Williams, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan and Bruce Forsyth.


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