Many sports stars have had pre-match rituals and superstitions over the years. And Manchester United players have been no different.
From lucky underwear, stepping onto the field with a specific foot to some wacky stuff, there are plenty of stories out there from athletes doing unique things that they believe help them win.
It’s fair to say the attitude in the dressing room has changed, and footballers rather focus on a team as winning.
Lottoland lists some footballer good luck rituals, from simple things such as Cristiano Ronaldo stepping on the field with his right foot first, Laurent Blanc kissing Fabian Barthez’s bald head during the 1998 World Cup, to former UFC fighter Lyoto Machida drinking his own urine every morning.
Here’s a look at a few of our own players from over the years:
Club legend turned Sky Sports commentator and analyst, Gary Neville, had one of the more bizarre pre-match rituals. The right-back would get changed into his full kit and then sit on the toilet with the lid down to read the matchday programme.
Neville confirmed this to the club’s official website the day after his birthday in 2019:
“I sat in the players’ lounge toilets – the same cubicle – for 15 minutes. When the boss finished his team-talk, I’d get my kit on and sit on the toilet, with the lid down, and read the programme in complete peace for 15 minutes. Tranquillity. I did that every game.”
We guess you could say it worked wonders for the former youth academy product, as Gary Neville went on to win eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League titles at the Red Devils.
A former teammate of Neville’s and a fellow Class of ’92 product, midfielder Paul Scholes’ pre-match ritual back in the day consisted of eating the same meal before each match. A somewhat unusual choice of meal some might say.
The 11-time Premier League told Amazon Prime show Back of the Net:
“Beans on toast, always, try to have it all the time.
“Two Turkish Delights and a cup of tea, but I’d always buy a packet of three and leave one.”
Scholes was a key component in our team over the years and even came out of retirement in 2013 to help Sir Alex Ferguson win the Premier League title again in his final season.
Current Derby County manager Wayne Rooney spent 13 seasons at Old Trafford after he arrived from Everton after Euro 2004.
The forward would go on to help us win five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League. Rooney too had a thing for drifting away from his diet ahead of kickoff, saying:
“I tend to just have cereal before a game, probably a bowl of Coco Pops. The normal ones, not the Moons and Stars.”
Manchester United are in action against AC Milan in the Europa League Round of 16 second leg. Let’s hope our players go through their pre-match rituals and pick up a victory that would take us into the quarter-finals!
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