Ronaldo, Van Dijk, Jesus, Salah: The 'most mispronounced' Premier League player names

  • Kobe Tong
Ronaldo playing for Man Utd.

The Premier League plays host to talented footballers from every corner of the globe.

With almost every sovereign nation on the planet having spawned at least one talented individual who has made it all the way to England’s top-flight, we can safely say that the competition truly is a celebration of the global game.

Nevertheless, that beautiful diversity of nationalities and heritages also means that supporters and commentators alike are every now and again presented with a name that leaves them tripping over their own tongue.

Pronouncing player names

We’ve all been there: your club has signed a new player and you’re unfamiliar with their name, which might have consonant combinations you’ve never seen before or accents that you don’t even know how to begin to tackle.

And it’s a tricky moment that’s often complicated by the fact that broadcasters, pundits and even other players will then proceed to pronounce said individual’s name in different ways.

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Naturally, everybody wishes to have their own name pronounced correctly, so credit to the fans, commentators, journalists and so on who do go the extra mile to ensure that they’re getting their phonics spot on.

However, unless you’re lucky enough to ask the player directly, find footage of them saying their own name or land yourself an official pronunciation document, then you’re probably going to need a helping hand from the world wide web.

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‘Most mispronounced’ names

But fear not, ladies and gentlemen, because thanks to the team at Preply, we’re able to provide you with the ultimate pronunciation cheat sheet for the Premier League player names catching out fans the most.

The online language learning platform dived into the world’s largest audio pronunciation dictionary to see which Premier League player names – of which there are over 500 – people needed the most help with.

Then, the 19 most mispronounced names were put before Preply’s native language experts in order to discern how they should actually be pronounced, thus answering the queries of you Googlers out there.

And the results are most certainly interesting, so be sure to check out the Premier League players who fans have been scrambling about to pronounce correctly the most down below:

19. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)

How to pronounce it: GRA-nuht JA-kuh

Xhaka scores for Arsenal.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Arsenal v Manchester United – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – April 23, 2022 Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

18. Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa)

How to pronounce it: Fuh-LEEP Koo-TEE-nyow

17. Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

How to pronounce it: HA-ree Muh-GWAI-uh

16. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

How to pronounce it: MUH-ha-muhd SUH-laa

15. Clement Lenglet (Tottenham Hotspur)

How to pronounce it: KLEM-uhnt Long-lay

Tottenham signing Lenglet.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Rangers v Tottenham Hotspur – Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – July 23, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur’s Clement Lenglet in action Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

14. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

How to pronounce it: N-golo KON-tay

13. Lucas Digne (Aston Villa)

How to pronounce it: LOO-kah Deehn

12. Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)

How to pronounce it: MI-chee BAT-shoe-a-yi

11. David de Gea (Manchester United)

How to pronounce it: Da-VID Der KHAY-er

10. Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

How to pronounce it: GAY-bree-uhl JAY-zooss

Arsenal's Jesus in pre-season.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – JULY 20: Gabriel Jesus #9 of Arsenal looks on during a Florida Cup friendly against the Orlando City at Exploria Stadium on July 20, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

9. Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester City)

How to pronounce it: Char-lar Sur-yun-juh

8. Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

How to pronounce it: Dee-OW-gow JOW-tuh

7. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

How to pronounce it: BROO-noh Fur-nandsh

6. Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

How to pronounce it: EEL-kye Gun-doe-wan

5. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal)

How to pronounce it: MAAH-tin ER-de-gord

Odegaard scores for Arsenal.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Arsenal v Everton – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – May 22, 2022 Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring their fifth goal REUTERS/Toby Melville EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

4. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)

How to pronounce it: HYOO-gow LAW-ruhs

3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

How to pronounce it: VUH-jl V-awn D-ai-k

2. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

How to pronounce it: KEV-in DE-Brurner

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

How to pronounce it: Kri-stee-AA-noh ruh-NAL-doh

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Norwich City – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – April 16, 2022 Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal with Nemanja Matic REUTERS/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Which ones caught you out?

Bet you weren’t expecting Ronaldo to come top!

Truth be told, we’re inclined to think that Ronaldo’s name has bewildered the highest number of people into double-checking how it’s pronounced by way of him being, well, one of the most famous human beings on the planet.

Nevertheless, despite the suggested pronunciation for Ronaldo’s name falling exactly in line with how we say it, there were still 162,000 people listening to the audio of how you get it right.

Further down the list, though, we have a lot more sympathy because it’s easy to look at the accents in the names of Ødegaard and Söyüncü and feel confused if you’re neither from Norway nor Turkey.

Leicester's Soyuncu warms up.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Leicester City v Norwich City – King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain – May 11, 2022 Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu during the warm up before the match REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Meanwhile, yes, Kante is pronounced more like ‘Conte’; De Bruyne shouldn’t actually be said like ‘De BRUY-ner’, steady on with the ‘Virg’ in Van Dijk’s first name and wait, is that really how you pronounce De Gea?!

We were certainly caught out by a few of the recommended pronunciations and we defy anyone reading this article not to have done a double-take for at least one of the suggestions in the list.

And that’s ok, because it’s all about the learning process. It’s wonderful that the Premier League has such a diverse range of players calling it home and we can all put in an extra bit of effort to make sure we’re getting their names spot on.

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