The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life (Match Point, 2005)

To become a footballer, and then to become a champion, you need talent, constant work and a decent ammount of luck. In every culture, population and religion there is this bizzare conviction that even fortune can be trained, or as a deity, to support and honor it as small and personal rites. The players are certainly not an exception and here I collected my favorites, stories halfway between the legend and the truth, little journalism and a lot of imagination.

 

Laurent Blanc

 

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One of the visual highlights of the 1998 World Cup was the sight of Laurent Blanc planting a kiss upon the shiny, bald head of the French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before every game. 

 

Crazy goalkeepers I, Thibaut Courtois

 

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There is a boundless literature that explains the mental imbalances that someone must have to be a good goalkeeper, which of course are reflected in the pre-school rituals. The Chelsea goalkeeper has his own personal ritual during the Belgian national anthem: rub his chin while framing the camera.

 

Crazy goalkeepers II, Iker Casillas

 

The Spanish goalkeeper is one of the more superstitious players. With specially cut shirts worn in every game, he also marks a groove on the pitch with his left foot on the edge of the box and his goal-line. In addition, whenever his team scores, he goes to his goal, jumps up and touches the crossbar with his left hand. 

 

Crazy goalkeepers III, Roman Burki

 

Definitely the most annoying ritual of all: touch the ball before the start of the match, in any case, anyway. 

 

John Terry

 

The English stopper has three traditions. He always sits on the exact same place on the team bus, does three circles around his legs with tape and always listens to the same Usher album whilst en route to the stadium in the bus.

 

Gary Lineker

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Pare che l'attaccante inglese non tirasse in porta prima nel riscaldamento prepartita per non bruciare nessuna cartuccia. Idolo.

 

The blasphemers: Trapattoni e Tardelli

 

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The first one used to bless the pitch with some tears of holy water, the second one used to wear a santino in shin guard. 

 

Top Players: Cristiano, Messi e Ronaldo

 

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Both the Real Madrid and Barcelona star are always the last player on their team to emerge on to the field. In addition, the Portuguese ace always repeats the same routine when he is taking a free kick by placing the ball with both hands, taking the same amount of steps back, spreading his legs and taking a deep breath. The original, Brazilian Ronaldo had several quirks in his repertoire. One of them was to always place his right foot on the field first.

 

Coolest ritual accessory: Juan Sebastian Veròn's knee band

 

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Forget tattoos, earrings or bracelets. The coolest accessory of all time was the under-the-knee band by Juan Sebastian Veròn. He started using it to not let the kneecap dance too much, but then became a fixed part of his outfit.