Football

Italy captain claims he ‘cursed’ Bukayo Saka before missed penalty in Euro 2020 final

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini has confessed to putting a curse on Bukayo Saka – before the England youngster’s penalty miss handed the Euro 2020 crown to Italy.

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini has confessed to putting a curse on Bukayo Saka – before the England youngster’s penalty miss handed the Euro 2020 crown to Italy.

The Three Lions’ heroic campaign ended in heartbreak at Wembley on Sunday as the Azzurri won 3-2 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw.

Arsenal frontman Saka, 19, saw keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma save his spot-kick to clinch victory for Roberto Mancini’s men.

Italy skipper Chiellini – who slept with the Euro trophy after his team’s win – has now owned up to uttering the curse word ‘Kiricocho!’ as Saka shaped up to shoot.

He was captured on camera apparently mouthing the South American term, shortly before celebrating Donnarumma’s save with his team-mates.

‘Kiricocho’ is a South American term that translates roughly as ‘Jinx’ or ‘Curse you’.

It dates back to 1982, taking its name from a fan of Argentine club Estudiantes whose presence at training coincided with players getting injured.

Superstitious club boss Carlos Bilardo hired Kiricocho to attend games to put a hex on their opponents.

Bilardo’s side lost just once that season, the only time the diehard supporter was unable to attend.

Grizzled veteran Chiellini is known for using every trick in the book to thwart opponents.

He brazenly grabbed hold of Saka’s shirt during extra time to stop the England ace breaking through.

And the 36-year-old Juventus defender owned up when ESPN Argentina asked if he had placed the notorious curse on the teenager.

A grinning Chiellini told ESPN’s reporter: “Ciao Cristiano. I confirm everything to you – Kiricocho!”

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