Italy star Giorgio Chiellini has claimed that he put a “curse” on Bukayo Saka before the England teenager’s decisive penalty miss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final, Goal.com reports.
Saka saw his spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, handing Italy the European title after the two teams drew 1-1 over 120 minutes.
Just before Saka took the kick, Chiellini screamed “Kiricocho!” – a word that’s been used by footballers for decades to impart bad luck on the opposition.
What was said?
Responding to a question from ESPN, Chiellini responded in Italian: “Hello Christian, I confirm everything! Kiricocho!”
A video from UEFA also clearly shows the veteran defender shouting the word just prior to Donnarumma’s title-winning save on Saka.
What is the Kiricocho curse?
Juan Carlos ‘Kiricocho’, or Quiricocho according to some versions of the story, was a hardcore supporter of Argentinian club Estudiantes de la Plata during the 1980s.
The fan even attended some of the club’s training sessions, but Estudiantes head coach Carlos Bilardo began to notice that his players mysteriously seemed to get injured whenever Kiricocho was present.
Bilardo, as the legend goes, told Kiricocho to attend training sessions of Estudiantes’ rivals, hoping to utilise his powers to help, rather than hurt his side.
“Kiricocho was a kid from La Plata who was always with us, and since that year we were champions [in 1982], we adopted him as our mascot,” Bilardo once remarked.
“He was a good kid but then I didn’t see him again. The last time I was coaching Estudiantes [in 2003-04] I asked after him and nobody knew anything.”
The legend of Kiricocho has since spread throughout the footballing world, with players now routinely using the word when they want to put a curse on their opponents.