“Strikers are all crazy. People like Alberto Gilardino, my one-time team-mate with Milan and Italy, put their faith in witchcraft. He’d always slip a pair of stinky old boots in his bag. We’re talking ancient, ugly, tatty things with wobbly studs. Archaeological relics. If truth be told he treated them like treasure and they were always spotlessly clean. He’d shine them, caress them, sometimes he’d even talk to them and kiss them. Mental stuff. They looked like something Attila the Hun would have played in.
‘But why Gila? They’ve got holes in them.’
‘Because I’ve scored a shitload of goals in them. If I put them in the bag next to my new boots, it will transmit the magic fluid to them. If I leave them at home by mistake, I’ll ask the coach to sit me on the bench because there’s no way I’ll do anything good without them.’
Whatever you think of Gilardino’s quirk, it’s considerably more favorable then the more invasive ritual favored by Filippo Inzaghi. Simply put, he crapped. Crapped a hell of a lot. That isn’t a bad thing in itself, but the fact that he’d do it at the ground, in our dressing room, just before the game, got on our nerves somewhat. Especially if the dressing room was small.
‘It brings me luck boys’ he would say.
‘Well it doesn’t do much for us. What the hell have you been eating anyway?’
In hindsight, it was pointless even asking. We all knew those baby biscuits Pippo ate for hours. He was a 40 year old newborn. And when it came to the end of the pack, he had to leave 2 biscuits at the bottom. Not one, not three: two.
‘That way the stars will stay aligned in my favour’
Ah, yes the famous alignment of stars and baby biscuits.
Back in my Reggina days, the man to keep an eye on was Paolo Foglio. He couldn’t sleep unless he’d balanced his trainers against the wall, one on top of the other with the toes pointing down. A real feat of geometry.
Superstitions begin when something goes wrong. For a goalkeeper, it might be letting in too many goals. For a striker, the inability to find the back of the net. For Inzaghi, a sudden strike at the Plasmon factory.”
Via “I think, therefore I play” (Penso, quindi gioco) by Andrea Pirlo