Soccer is not just a sport, it is passion, entertainment, and harmony all wrapped in one. The men’s soccer tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo thrilled fans all over the world.
The average number of expected viewers grew even though the tournament was delayed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Many fans clamored for their favorite players to put a ball behind the net so they could see them do their signature celebrations.
Soccer goal celebrations are numerous; a single player can have more than one way of celebrating.
Unlike other ball games, soccer matches often end goalless even after full-time extends into extra time. Therefore, scoring a goal is an extraordinary experience—more so for players who don’t get to score often.
Sometimes soccer players rehearse celebrations with teammates while in training. Some celebrations become iconic due to their humor, timing, or exceptionality.
Not all players do something exceptional after scoring a goal. Some players shed tears while others like N’golo Kante act like they did nothing worth celebrating.
However, what continues to fascinate soccer fans is why players kiss their wrists after scoring a goal. Is it some kind of ritual or a hidden code?
Outside other common ways of celebrating goals in soccer, we will try to unravel the mystery behind soccer players kissing their wrists after they score.
Why do soccer players kiss their wrists?
A kiss could mean different things to different people depending on factors like the part of the body kissed, who initiates the kiss, and at what time and place it is done.
A kiss is a universal gesture that could indicate respect, admiration, politeness, courtesy, affection, and devotion.
Soccer players sometimes kiss teammates on the forehead after scoring a goal and sometimes kiss their wife and kid(s) after a victory.
Many soccer players have been spotted kissing their wrists, from Uruguayan sensation Luis Suarez to Portuguese Fabio Alexandre da Silva and Spanish star Santi Cazorla.
Here are some of the reasons why soccer players kiss their wrists after scoring a goal.
1. Emotional support
Most soccer players sign up for clubs that are far from their home country. Sadly, not all of them take their family along. As a close substitute, they wear bracelets or tattoos—which they sometimes conceal with tapes—as a way of emotionally keeping their families close.
So, kissing their wrists after scoring a goal will feel like having a warm hug from their family member.
For example, Luis Suarez has become well known for kissing his wrist after scoring a goal. Only a few of his fans know why he does that and many others just see it as another way of celebrating a goal without attaching special meanings to it.
In an interview, Suarez revealed that his trademark celebration of kissing his wrist where he has his daughter’s name ‘Delfina’—which can be rearranged to form the word ‘Anfield’—tattooed is a total coincidence but very significant and a sign of fate.
He is married to Sofia Balbi and they have three kids named Delfina (his first child), Benjamin, and Lauti.
He first starts his jubilation by kissing his wedding ring finger as gratitude to his wife before kissing the ‘Delfina’ tattoo on his wrist and then wraps it up by kissing three of his fingers signifying his wife and sons.
2. Dedicating the goal to a loved one
Most soccer players have the name or picture of their loved ones tattooed on their wrists. So, when they score a goal, they kiss their wrist as a sign of dedicating the goal to that loved one.
Fabio Coentrao is from Portugal, he was born in March 1988 and currently plays for Rio Ave. He is a hardworking player who takes the game of soccer to heart.
Coentrao has been in soccer for over two decades and has continuously proven himself a player with skills and grit. He has switched clubs a couple of times, from Rio Ave to Benfica, Real Madrid, Monaco, and back to Rio Ave.
He has a unique way of celebrating his goals by kissing his wrist. This adds to the charm of his skillful style of play.
Coentrao has continually been a fan favorite at every club he ever played for—and his celebration style is a contributing factor.
From what we learned from research and granted interviews, Coentrao’s kissing of his wrist after scoring a goal is a dedication to his family.
He has been married to Andreia Santos since 2010 and they have a son and daughter named Henrique and Vitoria respectively.
3. Hand of God
The hand of God was popularized by the late Argentine sensation, Diego Maradona after he scored a goal with his hand during the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals against England.
Some soccer players are highly religious in the sense that they attribute their success to a Supreme Being. Kissing their wrist after scoring a goal is a silent way of paying reverence to the ‘Hand of God’.
For instance, Sergio Aguero also called Kun Aguero is of Argentine origin. He started his youth soccer career in 1997 and has played exceptional soccer since then.
Apart from playing and scoring for his home team, he has played for big clubs like Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, and Barcelona (2021) where he has gained a dedicated fanbase.
He knows exactly how to dazzle crowds with his skillful style of play and goal-scoring ability. He has a few other ways of celebrating his goals but the one that has garnered more attention is the one where he kisses his wrist after scoring a goal.
Nobody knows exactly why he does the wrist kissing after scoring goals but close sources say it’s for his son Benjamin and dedication to his home country Argentina. Perhaps, it is his way of reimagining the famous ‘Hand of God’ by his countryman.
4. Mimicking other soccer players
Like every other sphere of life, soccer players have their role models—although most of them are shy of talking about the person that inspires them in public for the fear of being disrespected.
No doubt, some soccer players have no meaning attached to kissing their wrists after scoring a goal. It is probably something they picked up from other players.
For example, a lot of players including Sergio Ramos, Paulo Dybala, Vinicius Junior, and Kylian Mbappe have been spotted mimicking the ‘siuu’ celebration popularized by Cristiano Ronaldo.
It is hard to say with certainty why players mimic others. Perhaps, it is simply a silent way of saying they can be as good as another player.
Are there other goal celebrations by soccer players?
Celebrations are more synonymous with lower-scoring sports like ice hockey and association football where it takes a lot of effort to score a goal. Goal celebrations in soccer are numerous and some were so iconic they became immortalized.
Thierry Henry’s iconic knee slide celebration is one of those celebrations which has been immortalized; a statue of it can be seen in front of the Emirates Stadium.
Video games, magazine covers, advertisements, and postage stamps are ways in which these celebrations are preserved in time.
Let’s take a look at some other celebrations in the game of soccer.
- A group hug: Group hugs after a goal is the most popular celebration in the game of soccer. This celebration has been done by practically every soccer team.
Sometimes the players jump on each other’s shoulders in excitement. Even when the goal scorer performs a solo celebration, it often ends in group hugs.
- Running to the corner flag: Gabriel Batistuta celebrated goals during his time at Fiorentina by running to the corner flag and grabbing it. A life-size bronze statue of him in Florence depicts this iconic celebration.
- Pretending to fire a machine gun: This celebration was synonymous with Edinson Cavani and Gabriel Batistuta who made it famous.
- Diving on the grass with arms and legs widely stretched: This form of celebration has gone viral since it was first done by Jürgen Klinsmann after he joined Tottenham Hotspur. The iconic celebration has been named “Klinsmann” by soccer aficionados.
- Walking in a nonchalant style: In this celebration, the scorer can be seen running or walking nonchalantly with a sneer on their face. A variant form of this celebration was done by Manchester United’s striker Eric Cantona, he stood still after scoring and looked around with a look that says “That was easy”.
- Shaping the fingers in the form of a heart: Zlatan Ibrahimović made this celebration famous by doing a heart sign to the crowd after scoring a goal. This has gone on to be used by other international players like Lorenzo Insigne and Gareth Bale.
- Kissing the ring finger: This celebration was common with Spanish soccer player Raul Gonzalez Blanco. It is a celebration synonymous with married players.
- Mimicking an Airplane: Here, scorers outstretch both arms while sprinting around the field haphazardly like an airplane. This celebration was made famous by ex-Brazilian striker Careca.
- Rocking both arms from side to side like a baby: This signifies a player who recently had a child. It was made popular by Brazilian striker Bebeto at a match against the Netherlands at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
- Sucking the thumb like a baby: This goal celebration either means that scoring is like a child’s play to the scorer or a tribute to their child(ren). It is a trademark celebration of Francesco Totti, the Roma legend.
- Backflip: When some players score a goal, they treat their fans to an acrobatic display. One time Inter Milan striker, Obafemi Martins, was one of those that popularized backflip after scoring a goal.
- Si (Siuuu): This is a signature goal celebration popularized by Cristiano Ronaldo. He would leap into the air and perform a pirouette before exclaiming “Si” meaning “Yes” in Spanish.
The list of celebrations goes on and on but we have to stop here for the moment. New celebrations will continue to be developed by players as long as the goals keep coming.
Why does James Maddison kiss his wrists?
James Maddison is an English attacking midfielder and Leicester City star. James has a tattoo on his wrist dedicated to a five-year-old kid named Sophie Taylor from Norwich after she died from bone cancer complications.
He said Sophie, whom he forged a strong bond with while he was at Norwich City, stole his heart.
A part of his home was dedicated in memory of Sophie where her keepsakes and photographs are displayed.
Sophie’s Sparkle fund is registered by the Norfolk Community Foundation. It is aimed at supporting research and development in bone cancer treatment and aiding families affected by childhood cancer.
Scoring a goal in soccer gives a special feeling that some players often struggle to express. Players confess to feeling a combination of relief, satisfaction, and elation.
This is also felt by spectators and soccer fans and not just players.
Soccer players have unique, entertaining, and spectacular ways of celebrating goals which crown the whole purpose of the game. The more expressive a celebration, the better its chances of being remembered.
While there might be other reasons why soccer players kiss their wrists, it is evident that they mostly do it in dedication to a loved one.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!