Start Believing: Meet the kung-fu keeper

The hobby of former St Etienne star Jeremie Janot features in the latest in our series chronicling the extraordinary power of belief
Rituals for good luck are common, but routines to punish yourself for losing are less so. Jeremie Janot, however, was far from your ordinary goalkeeper.

Standing at a relatively modest 1.75m and immediately identifiable by the tribal tattoo on the back of his shaved head, Janot was agile, muscular and extrovert. Indeed, in a game against Istres, he once played in a customised Spiderman kit, complete with balaclava.

So perhaps it’s natural that after each defeat of his professional career, keen amateur martial artist Janot habitually descended to his home gym, based in the garage of his house – and locked himself in to beat the life out of his favourite punch bag. All night.

This will be of little surprise to any who saw his furious reaction to conceding a free-kick to Juninho in the October 2004 defeat to Olympique Lyonnais – Janot performed a two-footed kung-fu lunge on the post after the ball hit the net – or visitors to his website.

On, readers are greeted by the goalkeeper in a fists-up boxing pose, and he goes on to talk about meeting mixed martial arts star Wanderlei Silva (nickname: “The Axe Murderer”) as a personal highlight. Now 36, former St Etienne stalwart Janot has been without a club since Le Mans’ collapse in October 2013, having moved there the previous summer. Shortly after, he floated the possibility of transferring his skills to another sporting sector.

“An agent offered me [the chance to go to] a club in Thailand,” tweeted Janot. “I told him that if I go, I’ll end up at Lumpini Stadium doing Muay Thai.” Janot may have appeared to be joking, but name checking the Bangkok-based home of Muay Thai is another reminder of what a martial arts fanatic he is. Besides, he already showed in his football career that he’s pretty good with his fists.

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