Superstitions and curses in football are much more prevalent than you’d think they are. From clubs bottling finals to shirt numbers plaguing quality players, there have been all kinds of experiences that can be spoken about. And in this article, we will take a look at the 10 strangest curses in football.
10 strangest curses in football
10. Chelsea’s number 9 shirt
Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higauin, and Romelu Lukaku all failed to perform at the top level while wearing the number 9 shirt at Chelsea. The sheer quality of these players and their surprising lack of performance has been a concern for fans of the club for years.
9. Birmingham City and the Romani Gypsies
The Gypsies had cursed the land where the St Andrew’s Stadium was built in 1906, and they struggled to win a single trophy over the next 100 hours. In 2006, they were relegated in the final year of the curse, and they eventually won the League Cup in 2011, ending the trophy drought.
8. Australia and the World Cup curse
The Socceroos used the help of a witch doctor to beat Zimbabwe in 1970 and make it to the World Cup. But, due to unpaid dues, the curse was reversed and they failed to make it to 1994, 1998 and 2002 until the curse was reversed in Mozambique.
7. Manchester United’s number 7 jersey
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from the club, Memphis Depay, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia all struggled while wearing the jersey. Edinson Cavani was able to perform to some extent before handing it back to Ronaldo. Now, it remains to be seen whether the successor can break this curse.
6. Benfica’s European Cup curse
Bela Guttmann left Porto for Benfica in 1959, and cursed the club that they wouldn’t win a European trophy for a hundred years due to him not getting a pay raise after winning league titles and the European Cup in 1961 and 62. They have since choked on the European Cup finals in 1963, 1965 and 1968 and also lost the UEFA Europa League finals in 1983, 2013 and 2014.
5. Racing Club’s black cats curse
Independiente supporters broke into the club’s stadium, and buried seven dead black cats. Bad luck followed them, and they went the 70s without winning a trophy, facing relegation in 1983. They eventually found the six cats, but had to wait to find the seventh. In 2001, they won their first trophy since 1966, the Aperture. This remains one of the scariest curses in football.
4. Manchester City and PSG’s Champions League curses
Yaya Toure’s treatment by Pep Guardiola has led to the notion of an African curse on the Sky Blues, which prevents them from winning the Champions League despite having a crazy squad. They finished runners up in the 2021 finals against Chelsea, and have been unable to reach the final any other time. PSG lost the final the year before City, failing to progress to the ultimate stage ever before.
3. Bayer Neverkusen
The German side were called ‘Neverkusen’ due to their ability to not win trophies. They finished second in the league in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2011, and also lost the DFB Pokal and Champions League finals. They could’ve won a treble in 99/00, but it eventually led to nothing. In Germany, it remains one of the most notable curses in football.
2. England’s trophy drought
A major curse in football that has lasted over half a century, England’s last major trophy was their 1966 World Cup. They have since failed to win a single trophy. They went to penalties in the finals of the Euros at Wembley, but lost to Italy.
1. World Cup winner’s woes
The World Cup winner’s curse in football has risen recently. Italy, Spain, and Germany failed to make it out of their group stages following their wins in the previous edition. It now remains to be seen whether France will suffer the same fate this year.