Italy Captain Says He Put Kiricocho Curse On Bukayo Saka Before His Penalty Miss

by : Hannah Smith on : 14 Jul 2021 15:09
Italy Captain Says He Put Kiricocho Curse On Bukayo Saka Before His Penalty MissPA Images

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini says he put a curse on Bukayo Saka before the England teenager took his penalty at the Euros final.

The legendary defender might not have taken a penalty himself, but it seems he’s more than happy to take some credit for Italy’s victory in the shoot-out, after confirming speculation that he put an old footballing curse on Saka as he ran up to take his shot.


This all began after footage emerged that appeared to show Chiellini mouthing something as Saka prepared to take the crucial penalty for England; now, it seems some fans have sussed out he was saying ‘Kiricocho.’

Chiellini claims he put a curse on Saka during Euro 2020 final (PA Images)PA Images

The word might sound like nonsense, but in the footballing world it’s got serious connotations. Within the sport, it’s said that shouting ‘Kiricocho’ can put a curse, or a hex, on your opponents, causing them to play badly, pick up an injury or in this case miss a decisive penalty.

The Kiricocho curse has it’s origins in South America, more specifically at Argentinian football club Estudiantes, where back in the 1980s head coach Carlos Bilardo came up with an unusual explanation behind a raft of injuries his players were picking up during training sessions, Eurosport reports.


According to Bilardo, the injuries all had one thing in common: they happened during training sessions that were being watched by a young fan named Kiricocho.

In an attempt to turn the bad luck on Estudiantes’ rivals, Bilardo reportedly began sending Kiricocho to watch other clubs train, and the Kiricocho curse was born.

Now, some 40 years later, the curse appears to have played a part in it’s biggest game yet, with Chiellini confirming earlier this week to ESPN that he was indeed mouthing ‘Kiricocho’ as Saka took his run up.


In a video message sent to the sports channel, Chiellini said in Italian, ‘Hello Christian, I confirm everything! Kiricocho!’

Chiellini been a stalwart in the Italian team for almost two decades, and went viral during the Euro 2020 tournament for his passionate renditions of the country’s national anthem, as well as his attempts to psych out Spain captain Jordi Alba ahead of their semi-final penalty shoot-out.

The veteran defender also appeared to have it out for Saka before long before the 19-year-old stepped up to take his penalty, having hauled him back by his shirt during extra time in a foul that many believed should have seen him sent off.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, Bukayo Saka, england, Euro 2020, Euros, Italy, Now


  1. Eurosport