Kante, Fernandes, De Bruyne: 19 player names you've probably been mispronouncing

  • Kobe Tong

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Pronunciations cane be a controversial topic in the world of football.

We've all watched a match and questioned everything we thought we knew when a commentator pronounces a player's name completely differently to how you've always said it yourself.

At the end of the day, the players themselves or those deft in the phonics of the country they hail from are the experts when it comes to how the names should be pronounced.

Pronunciations in football

And on the eve for Euro 2020, UEFA cleared the air on this very matter by compiling a fascinating guide on how to pronounce some of the trickier player names that will be on display this summer.

Be sure to check out our overall coverage of the guide here, but rest assured that our focus on the world of footballing pronunciations isn't ending there because the list threw up plenty of surprises.

As such, we decided to compile a list of players that we think are most likely to have been mispronounced most often by the largest number of fans over the years, including yours truly.

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19 commonly-mispronounced names

But, of course, not all of football can be found at Euro 2020, so we've also sprinkled a few extra names into the list from a fascinating Twitter thread by commentator Danny Jamieson in 2019.

He revealed that players vocalise how they'd like their names to be pronounced at the start of each season and proceeded to explain some of the most fascinating examples in the Premier League.

And from those two sources, we've drawn up a list of 19 players that we feel pretty confident that you must have mispronounced at least once in your life.

1. Pepe (FC Porto) = Pep (not 'Pep-eh')

We have no explanation for this one because it's simply blown our minds.


2. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) = TAY-mu Pukki

Admit it, you've gone in hard with a big fat 'TEE' sound when pronouncing his first name before.

3. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) = Christian puh-LISS-ick

Nope, there's not an eastern European-sounding 'ITCH' sound at the end like you've been saying all these years.

4. Joel Matip (Liverpool) = Jo-EL MAH-tip

Guilty parties will either have gone for a really Anglicised 'Joel' pronunciation or rolled straight from the 'MA' to the 'TIP' without stressing the 'A' along the way.

5. Donny van de Beek (Manchester United) = Fun der-bake

If anyone outside of the Netherlands has been correctly pronouncing Van de Beek's name this season, then you deserve a medal.


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6. N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea) = N-go-lo Kon-tay

The most common error of the bunch, surely, because I think we're all guilty of saying: Kan-tay.

7. Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund) = Jan

I can't be alone in having either gone 'Can' or 'Chan' without realising it was wrong, can I?

8. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur) = Al-der-way-reld

Gosh. That 'veer' sound I've been inserting into his surname all these years has been completely wrong.

9. Lucas Digne (Everton) = LuCA DEEN

Ah, we all love to add a 'ya' sound at the end, don't we?


10. Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United) = Lin-de-love

Stop parachuting a massive 'LOF' sound at the end of his name and feel the love, baby.

11. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) = Kevin de BRERRR-neh

Anyone who has listened to any commentary in the history of football will have heard approximately ten million different takes on how to pronounce De Bruyne's surname.

12. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) = Ol-iv-ee-eh Ji-roo

The temptation to add a 'd' sound at the end is just so strong.

13. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) = Hoy-byer

A relatively simple one for well-versed fans of Spurs and Denmark, but we just know that a few supporters will have butchered their way through a load of 'j' and 'g' sounds recently.


14. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) = Fur-nandsh

The 'ES' at the end of Portuguese names sort of crushes down into an 'SH' apparently, which means we need to revise how we've been saying Fernandes' name for the last 18 months.

15. Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) = Leroy ZAH-nay

Yup, that's right, declaring that 'SAH-nay has scored a great goal' has been wrong all along.

16. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) = Granit CHA-ka

Most Arsenal fans have this pretty nailed down by now, but you still hear a few people taking the fact that Xhaka's name starts with an 'X' a little too literally.


17. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) = On-twan Gree-ez-man

Well, this just made my life a lot harder.

18. İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City) = Eel-kay Goon-doe-wan

Gündoğan's name just got a whole lot cooler.

19. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) = Mat-ice Dull-icht

And finally, one where the first name has probably caught out more football fans than the surname with 'Matthijs' always looking like a tricky prospect for those untrained in Dutch.


Now then, be honest and count how many players you've been mispronouncing because we're guilty of at least making a tiny error for most of them.

So, sure, it might take some getting used to that Kante's surname sounds a little bit like Antonio Conte's, but accuracy is key when it comes to people's names and it's fantastic that we're all a little more clued up on how to nail them now.

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