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Slippery Giorgio Chiellini put a curse on Bukayo Saka before his heartbreaking penalty miss handed Italy the Euro 2020 crown.
Italy’s skipper – who slept with the tournament trophy after his team’s win – has admitted hexing the teen by mouthing “Kiricocho!” as Saka lined up to shoot.
The South American term – which translates as “Curse you” or “Jinx” – takes its name from a fan of Argentine club Estudiantes whose presence at training coincided with players getting injured.
Moments after Chiellini uttered the hex, Arsenal’s Saka, 19, was devastated when keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his spot-kick to secure victory for Roberto Macini’s squad.
36-year-old Juventus defender Chiellini owned up when ESPN Argentina asked if he had placed the notorious curse on the teenager.
The grinning Italian bragged to the network’s reporter: “Ciao Cristiano. I confirm everything to you – Kiricocho!”
Grizzled veteran Chiellini is infamous for using every trick in the book to thwart opponents.
He also brazenly grabbed hold of Saka’s shirt during extra time on Sunday to stop the England ace breaking through.
What do you make of Giorgio Chiellini's curse? Let us know in the comments section.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has thrown his support behind Saka following the racist abuse he and England's other penalty takers have suffered.
Following the Gunners' 2-1 pre-season defeat at Hibernian, Arteta said: "We all have spoken to and messaged him. He will be fine, he's such a strong character.
"He has received a lot of love and support from the world of football, not only at Arsenal but with the national team and all the English fans because he doesn't deserve anything like he has been through.
"He had a phenomenal season. In football you want to be part of the greatest but you have to know that, today at 19, you will lose more than you win in this game. There are no exceptions to that rule."
- Euro 2020
- England Football Team
- Arsenal FC
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