Football managers are known for being superstitious but new Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri has taken his pre-match rituals to a whole new level.
Sarri was appointed Blues boss this summer as he took over from compatriot Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
The former Napoli chief has worked his way up from the very bottom to manage at Champions League level.
He has gained admiring glances from some of the world’s greatest managers, including Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.
But he would never have made it to the top without some of his bizarre superstitions and a smoking habit that reportedly sees him puff away on five packets of cigarettes a day.
His predecessor, Conte, banned ketchup from Chelsea’s Cobham training ground and Sarri is also known to have an influence on what his players eat.
If the team goes on a winning run then it is said that Sarri will resist changing the menu in an attempt to maintain the flow of positive results.
However, you have to go back to the early 2000s to find the strangest example of Sarri’s crazy addiction to routine.
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Sarri, according to a report in The Times, was managing a club called Sansovino in Serie D when he had a car accident in the club car park.
He crashed his grey estate into defender Marco Fara’s BMW just a few days before watching his side pick up a much-needed victory.
The following Sunday, Sarri’s boys faced a must-win match with their title rivals Chiusi and the chain-smoking Italian decided to try something out to give his team the edge.
Incredibly, believing the previous accident to have influenced the result, Sarri deliberately recreated the collision just days before the showdown.
Sansovino picked up the win they needed to close the gap at the top of the table in an apparent vindication of the manager’s strange tactic.
Chelsea’s millionaire footballers have considerably more cash to splash out on sports cars than lowly Sansovino and they won’t want any unfortunate accidents like this at Cobham.