Saturday 7 December 2019

16 genuinely useful pronunciation tips from Uefa for the Champions League knockout stage

Have you been pronouncing these correctly?

Chelsea's Eden Hazard
Chelsea's Eden Hazard

By Max McLean, Press Association

Wondering whether or not you’ve been mispronouncing your favourite footballer’s name all this time? Well with’s handy guide, all will become clear.

With the Champions League knockout stage upon us, has picked out some of the more difficult names to pronounce from the 16 sides still left in the competition.

From Messi to Mignolet, Hazard to Higuain, here’s one name from each team to perfect.


Lionel Messi – Lee-oh-nell

Barcelona's Lionel Messi

Lionel as in Lyon, not the king of the jungle.


Taulant Xhaka – Tow (to rhyme with cow)-lant Jacka

Basel's Taulant Xhaka

Granit Xhaka’s brother Taulant, “Tow (to rhyme with cow)-lant Jacka”, according to Uefa.

Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski – Le-van-dov-ski

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

As Uefa points out, the Polish “w” is pronounced like an English “v”.


Oguzhan Ozyakup – Oh-zyan Erz-ya-koop

Besiktas' Oguzhan Ozyakup

The former Arsenal youth player’s name might trip a few people up.


Eden Hazard – Ay-den

Chelsea's Eden Hazard

That’s Eden as in maiden, rather than the Garden of Eden.


Gonzalo Higuain – Ee-gway-een

Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain has a shot on goal

This guy made it all the way to the final last season, so you might want to familiarise yourself with his name.


Simon Mignolet – See-mon Min-yo-lay

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet might be kept from the starting XI by Loris Karius, but if he does play you’ll know the “g” is silent.

Manchester City

Gabriel Jesus – Jay-zooss

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus

Will this put an end to the Jesus puns?

Manchester United

David De Gea – De Hayer

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea

Much like Mignolet, United’s keeper drops the “g” in his name.

Paris St-Germain

Adrien Rabiot – Ad-ree-an Rab-yo

A Celtic player challenges Paris St-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot during the UEFA Champions League, Group B match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

“The French language’s many vowels continue to confound English speakers,” says No excuses for getting Adrien Rabiot’s name wrong, though.


Iker Casillas – Ee-care Ca-see-yass

Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas

Of legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas, says: “Years of effort have almost eradicated the English tendency to pronounce Iker Casillas’s first name as if he worked as an optician (eye care).”

Real Madrid

Toni Kroos – Crows

Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos

Only nine letters in Toni Kroos’ name, but so many ways to get it wrong.


Radja Nainggolan – Nine-go-lon

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (left) and Roma’s Radja Nainggolan

The 29-year-old has failed to score in this year’s Champions League competition. Will he give commentators a chance to say his name correctly in the knockout stage?


Daniel Carrico – Car-hiss-oh

Sevilla footballer Daniel Carrico

The “c” at the end of Daniel Carrico’s surname is pronounced as a double “s”. It actually has a tail underneath known as a cedilla.

Shakhtar Donetsk

Yaroslav Rakitskiy – Rack-its-key

Shakhtar Donetsk footballer Yaroslav Rakitskiy

This pronunciation actually makes a lot of sense.


Toby Alderweireld – Al-der-way-reld

Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld

Al-der-way-reld’s a stage, and all the men and women merely footballers.

To see’s full pronunciation guide, click here.

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