Whether you play in the glorious arenas of European football or down the local park amidst a sea of puddles and dogs**t, chances are you have some sort of pre-match superstition or ritual that helps put your mind at ease.

Who knows if the 'luck' generated from these sometimes bizarre actions actually does the trick? But if it leads to a positive result the first time then it is usually repeated every week.

Some people like to do the same warm-up exercises or say the same encouraging words to themselves before kick-off, and some have some downright strange rituals, like these 11 men.

GMS have compiled a squad of players whose superstitions help keep them comfortable during some of the biggest matches, and there are some extremely bizarre examples.

Goalkeeper - Shay Given

Currently in the West Midlands wilderness at Aston Villa, Irish goalkeeper Shay Given places a small bottle of holy water acquired from a visit to Lourdes, France in his net during matches. This only happens when he actually plays though...

Right-Back - Phil Jones

Promising young defender Phil Jones may be an expert at being caught gurning by paparazzi, but he also has a strange ritual prior to games. Jones puts his left sock on first when Manchester United are at home and his right when they are away, coinciding with where they appear on the classified scores.

Centre-Back - Kolo Toure

Ivorian defender Kolo Toure's superstition actually got him into trouble during a Champions League tie with Roma back in 2009. Toure's desire to always enter the field as the last person after his teammates meant that he missed the start of the second half after he refused to start with partner William Gallas off the field following injury.

He eventually leapt onto the pitch following Gallas' return but was booked by the referee for entering without permission, a real unlucky moment for the ritualistic Ivorian.

Centre-Back - John Terry

Stalwart Chelsea captain John Terry allegedly once wore the same shinpads for ten years before losing them following a 2005 Champions League game against Barcelona, citing that the shinpads had got him to where he was in football. Not your ethical values towards teammates then John?

Left-Back - Malvin Kamara

In my struggle to find a left-sided defender, I've settled on makeshift full-back Malvin Kamara who is still a worthy entrant to the squad due to a truly bizarre superstition.

Lower League journeyman Kamara has claimed that prior to every match he has played across a ten-year career, he has had to watch Willy Wonka & the chocolate factory in order to ease his nerves.

Right Midfield - David Beckham

Becks comes flying in down our wing in this side due to a strange OCD habit stemming from one of his numerous sponsors.

'Golden Balls' has spoken of his compulsion to put every Pepsi can he owns in the fridge in a straight line or in pairs, and if there is one missing it must go in a separate cupboard away from view.

Centre Midfield - Paul Ince 

The Guv'nor was another who had to take to the field after all of his teammates had and additionally waited until on the pitch to put on his shirt, meaning that winter could have got extremely 'nippy' for the current Blackpool boss.

Left Midfield - Johan Cruyff

During his Ajax days, the great Dutch midfielder would spit his chewing gum into the opponents half prior to kick-off in a somewhat disgusting ritual. 

This was supposedly confirmed as a vital superstition when Cruyff forgot his chewing gum prior to a European Cup final appearance against AC Milan when Ajax went on to suffer a 4-1 defeat. Stick that in your gob Johan!

Striker - Gary Lineker

The most bizarre of a few superstitions linked to the perma-tanned Match of the Day host was that he would not take a shot on goal during his warm-up in the fear of 'using up' all of his goals before the match began.

This obviously worked as Lineker compiled one of the most fearsome strike records in world football during his playing days, yet it couldn't stop him from having a little accident on the pitch...

Striker - Mario Gomez

In a seemingly unpatriotic move, Mario Gomez can be seen remaining stoic and voiceless during the German national anthem while on international duty.

This is in fact down to once having forgotten to sing prior to a youth game before going on to hit the back of the net, a habit that has stuck ever since for the prolific Fiorentina forward.

What superstitions do you have prior to matches? Let us know, below.

Topics:
Football