Giorgio Chiellini has confessed that he tried to ‘jinx’ Arsenal and England star Bukayo Saka when he took a penalty in his country’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Saka took, and missed, the decisive penalty in the shootout on Sunday evening at Wembley after the game finished 1-1 after extra time.
The 19-year-old, despite having little to no previous penalty experience, was elected by Gareth Southgate to take the responsibility from 12 yards.
However, Gianluigi Donnarumma guessed the right way and prevented the ball from passing him in the Italian goal. Donnarumma might have his Italy team-mate to thank for that, if you believe in this sort of thing.
Chiellini can be seen mouthing the word ‘Kiricocho’ when Saka stepped up from the spot before the Juventus defender eventually ran off to celebrate his country’s triumph.
The word is a term that originates from the South American region and translates into ‘curse you’ in English.
The phrase’s origins come from Argentine club Estudiantes, with a supporter, who would constantly make his presence known during training sessions, but whenever they did, a player would pick up an injury.
Chiellini was asked about whether he tried using the curse by ESPN Argentina, via the Mail Online, and replied: “Ciao, Cristiano (the reporter). I confirm everything to you. Kiricocho!”
Saka, as well as Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, received abhorrent racist abuse on social media following their penalty misses, but have also been bombarded with plenty of support from the nation.
Their England team-mate and captain Harry Kane criticised the supporters who abused the trio, when taking to his Twitter page.
“They deserve support and backing, not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night,” Kane tweeted. “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high.
“If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
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England boss Southgate also slammed the people responsible for the abuse.
He said: “It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
“We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together. It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.”