Maurizio Sarri: Manager leading new and improved Chelsea – but how superstitious is the Italian?

It begs the question. The day after the so-called unluckiest day on the calendar, the Blues announced the Italian as their new boss.

The chain-smoking coach put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Stamford Bridge, posing alongside Director Marina Granovskaia in his unveiling.

It came a day after the club announced they had sacked Antonio Conte, but the change had been mooted for weeks.

So, did Sarri purposefully prolong his announcement? Well, given his superstitions it could be likely.

A private and quiet man, the 59-year-old tactician once ordered his players at Empoli to paint their white boots black because he thought it would bring them luck.


During his tenure at Napoli, he switched between training pitches every day until a winning run came to an end.

He would even drink espressos at set times as he oversaw sessions. Let's hope the coffee is good in Cobham.

He likes his teams to eat together, and should they be on a winning run, instructs them to stay in the same seats.

In terms of food, he made his Empoli players scoff Margherita pizzas after matches because he believed it would bring luck to his side.


A former player once said he would refuse to walk down a street if a black cat is lurking near him.

When Napoli were fighting for the Serie A title, he banned the word 'scudetto' from the changing room.

In his first job at Pescara in 2005, he dressed in a black tracksuit for the course of the season after it had brought him luck in an early game.

And yes, he was up to his old tricks again with spray paint, painting his players' studs black.


It all gives us a very interesting portrait of a perfectionist, who even has to park his car in the same space – Chelsea stars take note.

Before taking the Stamford Bridge hotseat, Sarri lived a monastic life in the Riviera with his wife Marina, their son and dog.

He was a banker at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Tuscany before he transitioned into coaching at the ripe old age of 40.

Sarri lived in a villa on the outskirts of Varcaturo, where he mostly say in his office devising plans to defeat the opposition.


He would record all the data of his players, including aerobic capacity, physical problems, as well as anecdotes of the day's training.

Sarri shunned the city of Naples, rarely venturing out and preferred the more reclusive life and is addicted to work.

The fiery Neapolitan took breaks from his meticulous planning by going on long walks in the countryside, but would never switch off from thinking about the game.

To cut through his stress, he reportedly puffs 60 cigarettes a day.


With touchline rules getting in the way of his habit, he's found a way of getting his nicotine fix while on the sidelines.

During the 90 minutes, he plays with a cigarette filter between his lips as he focuses on his games.

Look forward to seeing that up and down Premier League grounds this season.

Pep Guardiola is a big fan of the man, who was once nicknamed Mr 33 because of the number of set-piece routines he asked his players to perfect.




Even Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis was afraid to upset his former employees' superstitions.

“Why do I not go to the San Paolo anymore? For superstition," he once explained.

"When I was in Los Angeles, the team always won, so I decided it was better to stay away.

"It is also because Sarri is more superstitious than me and he would hold it against me if I greeted him before a match and we did not manage to win.”

Now, imagine Sarri telling Roman Abramovich to stay away from Stamford Bridge if the Blues are on an unbeaten run?

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