Mexico City: French forward Andre-Pierre Gignac had gone two months without a goal for his Mexican club Tigres of Monterrey when he got an assist from an unlikely source: A hypnotist.
Gignac met Chile-born John Milton in November after one of his shows, in which he collectively hypnotizes an audience.
The 30-year-old striker had gone 764 minutes without a league goal, his last one from the penalty spot on 17 September.
"We could say that he was a little worried," Milton, known as "The Gentleman Hypnotist" who has lived in Mexico since 1970, told AFP.
When Gignac was hypnotized, "he fell into an altered state of conciousness in which some treatment was given," Milton said, without giving details.
In his next game, it only took Gignac four minutes to score against Pumas of Mexico City in the second leg of the quarter-final of the Apertura-2016 tournament on 26 November.
In a nod to the hypnotist, Gignac celebrated the goal by pretending to go into a transe and falling to the ground after his team-mate Javier Aquino extended his hand in front of his face. For his second goal, Gignac"hypnotized" his team-mates.
The French international netted two more goals to complete a hat trick in the 5-0 victory.
"Hopefully he keeps seeing (the hypnotist). As long as he scores three goals, he can go as many times as he wants," Tigres manager Ricardo Ferretti told reporters after the game.
The coach also attributed Gignac's turnaround to his work ethic at practice and his positive attitude.
But after a second session of hypnosis, Gignac scored a goal in each leg of the semi-final game against Leon.
Tigres are now in the two-game final against Club America on 22 December and 25 December.
It isn't 'magic'
Milton, who has helped university professors, hospital patients, prisoners, politicians and artists, gave credit to the player.
"Gignac didn't score goals for me. He did it because he is an excellent center-forward," the hypnotist said.
While he wouldn't describe the sessions, Milton said he needs the trust and concentration of his clients.
"The most important thing is a specific breathing," he said. "Hypnosis isn't magic. It isn't special powers."
The sessions generate "biochemical alterations, including metabolical changes at the corporal, physiological and cerebral level," he said.
Milton told Gignac to do the "Milton gesture" if he scored a goal. He obliged against Pumas.
"But we never thought that this would go around the world with such force and such vehemence. It became viral," he said.
His father, Milton Motta, was also a famous hypnotist nicknamed "Taurus of Brazil." Motta hypnotized an uncle who was a Brazilian team coach.
In Mexico, Motta hypnotized Chilean forward Oswaldo Castro, who played for Club America and went on to become the top scorer of the 1973-1974 season following a leg injury.
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Updated Date: Dec 15, 2016 16:00:33 IST