Inspiring Generation

Chiellini Claims He ‘Cursed’ Saka Before Missing Penalty

The Italy defender yelled the phrase just before the England teenager’s penalty kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Giorgio Chiellini, of Italy, has claimed that he placed a “curse” on Bukayo Saka prior to the England teenager’s decisive penalty miss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

Saka’s penalty kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, giving Italy the European Championship after the two teams drew 1-1 over 120 minutes.

Chiellini screamed “Kiricocho!” just before Saka took the kick, a word that footballers have used for decades to curse the opposition.
What exactly was said?
In response to an ESPN question, Chiellini said in Italian, “Hello Christian, I confirm everything!” Kiricocho!”

A UEFA video shows the veteran defender shouting the word just before Donnarumma’s title-winning save on Saka.

What exactly is the Kiricocho curse?
During the 1980s, Juan Carlos ‘Kiricocho,’ or Quiricocho according to some versions of the story, was a fervent supporter of the Argentine club Estudiantes de la Plata.

The fan even attended some of the club’s training sessions, but Estudiantes head coach Carlos Bilardo noticed that whenever Kiricocho was present, his players seemed to get injured inexplicably.

According to legend, Bilardo instructed Kiricocho to attend training sessions of Estudiantes’ rivals in the hopes of using his abilities to help, rather than harm, his team.

“Kiricocho was a La Plata kid who was always with us, and since that year we were champions [in 1982], we adopted him as our mascot,” Bilardo once said.

“He was a nice kid, but I never saw him again.” I asked about him the last time I was coaching Estudiantes [in 2003-04], and no one knew anything.”

Kiricocho’s legend has since spread throughout the footballing world, with players now routinely using the word to curse their opponents.

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