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Giorgio Chiellini has claimed he put a curse on Bukayo Saka before the teenage England star missed the decisive penalty that saw Italy win Euro 2020.

Saka was left heartbroken after seeing his spot-kick palmed out by Gianluigi Donnarumma, ending the Three Lions’ stellar campaign in the cruellest of fashions at Wembley. 

But Italy defender Chiellini, who is no stranger to using every trick in the book during games, has now revealed that he uttered the word ‘Kiricocho’ just as Saka stepped up to take his penalty.

Giorgio Chiellini claimed he cursed Bukayo Saka before the England man's missed penalty

Giorgio Chiellini claimed he cursed Bukayo Saka before the England man's missed penalty

Giorgio Chiellini claimed he cursed Bukayo Saka before the England man’s missed penalty

Saka (centre) is seen being consoled by team-mates after Italy clinched the Euro 2020 trophy

Saka (centre) is seen being consoled by team-mates after Italy clinched the Euro 2020 trophy

Saka (centre) is seen being consoled by team-mates after Italy clinched the Euro 2020 trophy

Slow motion footage of the Italian players during the moment Donnarumma clinched them the trophy shows Chiellini, 36, mouthing the word, before racing away to celebrate. 

‘Kiricocho’ is a term that originates from South America, and is believed to translate into English as ‘curse you’ or ‘jinx’. 

It has truly bizarre origins, with the word taking its name from a supporter of Estudiantes in Argentina during the 1980s. The fan would attend training, but his appearances would coincide with the team’s stars picking up injuries. 

Chiellini (right) was caught on camera mouthing the South American curse word 'Kiricocho'

Chiellini (right) was caught on camera mouthing the South American curse word 'Kiricocho'

Chiellini (right) was caught on camera mouthing the South American curse word ‘Kiricocho’

Gareth Southgate shared a touching moment with Saka after the decisive penalty was saved

Gareth Southgate shared a touching moment with Saka after the decisive penalty was saved

Gareth Southgate shared a touching moment with Saka after the decisive penalty was saved

Carlos Bilardo, the club’s superstitious manager, then asked Kiricocho to attend matches to put a ‘hex’ on their opponents. 

The team subsequently lost just once that season – on the only occasion that the supporter didn’t attend. 

The story of the curse spread across the Spanish-speaking football world and the word has been seen to be uttered by players in key moments of matches in Europe.

Spain’s Joan Capdevila claims he shouted it to lead to Arjen Robben missing a one-on-one chance in the 2010 World Cup final, while Erling Haaland recently roared back at a goalkeeper who tried to put him off by chanting ‘Kiricocho’. 

Chiellini was quizzed on whether or not he used the curse by ESPN Argentina, and the veteran promptly owned up with a wry smile on his face. 

‘Ciao, Cristiano,’ he told a reporter. ‘I confirm everything to you. Kiricocho!’

Saka proved difficult to handle for Chiellini after being brought on during the second half, and even forced the centre back to crudely tug back his shirt to stop him from racing away towards the box. 

Sportsmail has reported how England’s players were left shocked by Gareth Southgate’s decision to hand Saka, 19, the responsibility of taking the crucial fifth penalty in the tense shootout. 

The wily Chiellini is no stranger to using all the tricks in the book to help his teams win games

The wily Chiellini is no stranger to using all the tricks in the book to help his teams win games

The wily Chiellini is no stranger to using all the tricks in the book to help his teams win games

THE LEGEND OF ‘KIRICOCHO’

Giorgio Chiellini’s shout of ‘Kiricocho!’ to ‘curse’ Bukayo Saka’s penalty goes back to the 1980s in Argentina – and a famous supporter of first division club Estudiantes.

Kiricocho, the fan, was avid enough that he would attend training sessions… but every time he did, a star player seemed to get mysteriously injured.

Estudiantes’ manager in the early 1980s, Carlos Bilardo, was superstitious and started to send Kiricocho to greet his team’s opponents. In the season he employed this tactic, Estudiantes won the title – and only lost one game. It just so happened that was the game Kiricocho missed…

And so the story of the curse spread around football fans across the Spanish-speaking world. Bilardo later managed in Spain and was surprised to hear fans of his club, Sevilla, shouting Kiricocho’s name whenever their opponents took a penalty.

Spain’s Joan Capdevila claims he shouted it to lead to Arjen Robben missing a one-on-one chance in the 2010 World Cup final, while Erling Haaland recently roared back at a goalkeeper who tried to put him off by chanting ‘Kiricocho’. 

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Despite initially being viewed as a ‘borderline’ candidate to make the final squad for the tournament, Saka was handed the burden because of his superb conversion rate at the end of training sessions. 

His team-mates rallied around to console him after the chastening miss, but they were also surprised that a teenager was placed in the position to decide the outcome of England’s biggest match in 55 years.

Saka fired his penalty to Gianluigi Donnarumma's left, but the giant Italy keeper parried it away

Saka fired his penalty to Gianluigi Donnarumma's left, but the giant Italy keeper parried it away

Saka fired his penalty to Gianluigi Donnarumma’s left, but the giant Italy keeper parried it away

A host of Three Lions players were quick to race to Saka and comfort him after the costly miss

A host of Three Lions players were quick to race to Saka and comfort him after the costly miss

A host of Three Lions players were quick to race to Saka and comfort him after the costly miss

Saka’s only experience with penalties came in youth-level ties, but Southgate’s choice was made using the results of practice efforts, which were all logged. 

The emotions couldn’t have been more contrasting after the final whistle, with Chiellini lauding Italy for ‘making history’ with their triumph.  

‘It was a tough game. We started in the worst way possible with England scoring after two minutes,’ the Juventus man admitted.

‘Difficult for us with all the fans in the stadium giving them energy to win. But we were quiet and calm, which was important. 

Chiellini (seen holding the trophy) admitted winning the tournament was a 'dream come true'

Chiellini (seen holding the trophy) admitted winning the tournament was a 'dream come true'

 Chiellini (seen holding the trophy) admitted winning the tournament was a ‘dream come true’

‘Then we started to play, play, play. We found the right pass, we found the right shot. This is the way to win.’

He went on to add: ‘It’s a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. We felt some magic at the start of the competition and it’s grown day by day.  

‘We feel inside to come in Wembley, it’s too difficult but I’m so happy, more than happy. We’ve seen the image of (Fabio) Cannavaro and now we are lucky altogether.’

Source: Daily Mail UK

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