Some footballers have exotic names, some have common names. But some have names that are more complicated; they twist the tongues of even the most astute and experienced commentators and sportscasters, talkless of average football fans.
It is hilarious sometimes listening to a commentator struggling to pronounce the name of a footballer, especially when it has more than four or five syllables. And it isn’t easy for the fans either, with most of these footballers getting a nickname instead.
Prior to the EURO 2016 in France, UEFA made a list of how to pronounce some names with lots of consonants and awkwardly shaped accents.
Here is a list of the top difficult names to pronounce in football
- Przemysław Tytoń – Poland (Goalkeeper)
Tytoń currently plays for FC Cincinnati in Major League Soccer, United States. His name is not very common these days because he no longer plies his trade in Europe but it’s definitely one of the most difficult names in the world of football.
The first name is apparently more complicated than his surname. The “rz” is like an “sh,” creating a problem the moment anyone wants to pronounce it because the first syllable starts with “Psh.”
Meanwhile, the last name is not too hard for pronunciation as the only thing to remember is that the “n” at the end has a little syllable at the end.
Pronunciation: Pshe-‘mi-swaf ‘Ti-ton-yuh
- Sokratis Papasthathopoulos – Greece (Defender)
The Greek plays as a center-back for Premier League side, Arsenal; as well as the Greece national team. Apart from the fact that the name is terribly difficult to pronounce, it also does not fit on the back of his jersey. His last name (Papastathopoulos) means clever and able to accomplish the impossible dream
First of all, his last name is so long and it’s a mixture of vowels and consonants. Also, there are two consecutive syllables that begin with “th”, but both of them are pronounced differently.
Pronunciation: Soh-krah-tez Pa-pas-ta-thoh-poo-lows
- Reza Ghoochannejhad – Iran (Forward)
Having played for Dutch national youth teams and the Iranian national team, Ghoochannejhad is currently on the payroll of Dutch side PEC Zwolle; and he’s popularly regarded as Gucci in Belgium and Netherlands.
His first name is pretty straightforward and sweet while pronouncing, but the second? It’s really a long name, arranged in a frustrating manner for any individual that attempts to pronounce.
Only one of the “h”s are silent, and so is the “j”. However, It’s not that hard if there’s constant practice, really.
Pronunciation: Reh-zah Goo-Chah-ne-had
READ ALSO: Top 15 Funniest Names In Football As At 2018
- Yevhen Konoplyanka – Ukraine (Midfielder)
The first Ukrainian on the list. One would think the name would be very easy to pronounce, his first name actually is easy. But where the problem lies is with his surname.
Konoplyanka is pretty phonetic in its pronunciation, but an attempt at pronouncing is worthwhile.
Pronunciation: Yĕ-ven Kō-nō-‘plē-ang-ka
- Wojciech Szczęsny – Poland (Goalkeeper)
Szczęsny’s name is one name many football folks stylishly avoid. The former Arsenal Goalkeeper is currently Poland’s first choice same as The Old Ladies of Turin, Juventus.
His last name (Szczęsny) means having the ability to learn easily and peacemaker.
His first name is easy compared to the last name. The “w” is a “v”, the “j” is a “y” (but not for the last name), the “i” is an “h” and the “e” at the end is silent.
Then there is “sh” and “ch” in a row but spelled like the “z” are “h”s. None of the “z”s in Szczęsny makes an actual “z” sound, but one of the “s” does.
Pronunciation: Voy-check Sh-Chaz-nee
- İlkay Gündoğan – Germany (Midfielder)
The German international is an intelligent and complete midfielder with numerous strengths who thrives in possession-based teams and can dictate a side’s tempo.
Just like Reza Ghoochannejhad, his first name doesn’t look so bad, but the last name of the Manchester City man has some tough aspects to it. Thus creating controversy and arguments for a section of football fans.
First, the “ü” is not a sound we make very often in English. Also, the “g” does not really make the type of “g” sound we would expect; in fact, one can actually ignore the “g” entirely.
However, this could cause trouble, as there are now two different vowel sounds (ō and ă) together.
Saying it slowly is possible.
Pronunciation: Ēl-kī Gün-dō-an
- Grzegorz Wojtkowiak – Poland (Right Back)
Basically, the first name is Gregor in the Polish Language but could be extremely difficult while pronouncing. While pronouncing the first name, replace the “r”s with “j”s and ignore the random “z”s and pronounce the “g” as “j”.
The last name is obviously filled with a truckload of consonants. To pronounce it, just change the “w”s to “v”s and the “j” to an “i” sound.
Pronunciation: Gje-goj Voit-koh-vee-ack
- Blerim Džemaili – Switzerland (Midfielder)
Blerim Džemaili is a Swiss midfielder currently playing in his country for FC Zurich. Džemaili was born to Fekredin and Shemije in SFR Yugoslavia (now North Macedonia). At age four, he and his family migrated to Zürich, Switzerland where he started his football sojourn.
The deep-lying playmaker has performed in a variety of positions, even as a winger. His football strength epitomizes his last name because according to research, Džemaili means to be determined, eventful, and versatile.
His first name is quite simple, but there’s a slight misunderstanding about his last name. The “d” alongside “z” with the column would simply change to “je” while pronouncing.
Pronunciation: Ble-rim Je-my-lee
- Šime Vrsaljko – Croatia (Right Back)
Named after his paternal grandfather who when he died was buried with his grandson’s Croatia national team jersey.
Vrsaljko is a flying fullback who currently plays for the Nerazzurri, Inter Milan. He’s been tagged as the next Darijo Srna due to his ability to play on both the left and right sides of defense, as well as in midfield.
His first name looks simple, the letter “S” with the sign would be pronounced as “sh”. For the last name, the “r” after “v” could make things worse but requires much patience would make pronouncing it not stressful. The “r” would become “er” when pronouncing while the “j” after “l” becomes “ee”.
Pronunciation: Shi-may Ver-sal-ee-ko
- Jakub Błaszczykowski
Jakub was born on 14 December 1985, currently plays as a winger for Wisła Kraków. He has also been a captain for the Polish national team.
He has certainly been successful as he has won two Bundesliga titles as well as an Ekstraklasa title. He is a great passer that is capable of splitting open defenses and can be depended upon to make assists for his teammates.
Known as Kuba, his last name, Błaszczykowski, means having the ability to reach great heights and being dependable.
Although his first name starts with a ‘Ja’, it is actually pronounced ‘Ya’. Also, the ‘u’ is pronounced ‘oo’. As for his last name, even though it is 14 letters, it is only four syllables. Quite simple, isn’t it?
Pronunciation: Ya-koob Blash-chi-kov-ski
Legendary Difficult Names in Football
- *Christophe Nduwarugira
*Pascal Razakanantenaina Andriamirado
*Aro Hasina Andrianarimanana
*Njiva Tsilavina Martin Rakotoharimalala
*Ronald Tapiwa Pfumbidzai
*Abdul Karim Nizigiyimana Makenzi
*Charles Carolus Andriamatsinoro
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time
The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.
A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.
There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.
10. Roberto Rivelino
Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.
He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.
Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.
8. George Best
Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.
De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.
6. Johan Cruyff
One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.
Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.
Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.
Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.
The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.
Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.
Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.
Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.
This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…