Nine incredible football personalities who can speak multiple languages
Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur is one of the many footballers who can speak multiple languages.
Some fans were surprised to learn that Dier can turn to Portuguese when the documentary “All or Nothing” showed him communicating with Jose Mourinho without English.
However, many fans will be well aware that Dier’s mastery of Portuguese dates back to his time in the country where his footballing ambitions were nurtured at Sporting CP.
Dier’s incredible language skills
From his family emigrating at the age of seven until his transfer from Spurs in 2014, Dier spent the entirety of his athletic studies in the Iberian wilderness, with the exception of a loan to Everton.
And during an appearance on the high performance podcast this week, the 27-year-old gave a fascinating glimpse into life as a bilingual person when he traded between Portugal and England.
Speaking about his intimidating move to Everton from Portugal, Dier said: “I was very Portuguese at the time in all respects. My mother was more worried that I would forget my English.
“Because my whole life has been in Portuguese school. The only time I spoke English was with my parents or my siblings.
Read more: The high performance podcast hub
“So all of my friends were Portuguese so that way it was just a huge shock in every way. The way they trained, the way the building was, the city, the weather, just in leaving … “
Although some people are able to learn other languages more easily than others, there is no denying the intelligence and memorization required to be able to switch from one national language to another.
At GIVEMESPORT, we are happy to admit that we find it endlessly fascinating to see amazingly bright athletes flutter between their native language and other dialects they have learned.
Reaction to Chelsea’s 2-0 match at Tottenham (terrace football)
And while Dier is one of the best examples of English-speaking to foreign-language, the Tottenham star is by no means the only one when it comes to footballers who can speak multiple languages.
Naturally, we would be there all day if we wanted to name all the multilingual professionals, but nonetheless we wanted to highlight some of the most impressive linguists in football in light of Dier’s comments.
Nine football personalities who speak multiple languages
In fact, using the information gathered by Babbel – one of the world’s largest language learning apps – in a recent article, we were able to highlight many players who deserve polyglot status.
So, get ready to feel insanely inferior as we introduce you to nine players past and present who, like Dier, have mastered more than one language – watch it:
Romelu Lukaku – 8/9 languages
One of the smartest guys in football, Lukaku was supposed to speak no less than eight different languages when Nick Stoll, Stan Sport producer has released UEFA language data for Chelsea players.
It is said that the signature of the record of the Blues speaks: French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Flemish and Italian. In fact, you can increase it to nine if you include Lingala.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 8 languages
In 2016, The Sun reported that Mkhitaryan could speak seven impressive languages: Armenian, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian and German.
And with Mkhitaryan having been seen speaking Italian as early as 2019 since his transfer to AS Roma, it is safe to say that he has consolidated his status as one of football’s most agile linguists.
– AS Rome (@OfficialASRoma) December 2, 2019
Mikel Arteta – 7 languages
Having already been filmed speaking three languages in 10 seconds on the sidelines of Arsenal, the Gunners boss is more than adept when it comes to browsing different languages.
In fact, when interviewed by Sky Sports, Arteta placed his language total at seven with Spanish, English, Catalan and Basque fluently in his repertoire as well as French, Italian and Portuguese.
Gelson Fernandes – 7 languages
According to Swiss Life, Fernandes can travel through seven languages after playing in six different countries with a constant desire to try and learn the vernacular of the place where he performed.
Scores on the doors? Portuguese, Creole, French, German, Italian, Spanish and English.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 6 languages
It makes sense that Zlatan speaks so many languages when he played for Malmö, Ajax, Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan and many other clubs during his illustrious career.
And Babbel places his total at six with Swedish, Bosnian, English, Italian, French and Spanish, all attributed to the legendary striker as well as some sign language strands. Awesome stuff.
Miralem Pjanic – 6 languages
Pjanic confirmed in an interview with Sport in 2020 that he can speak French, German, Bosnian, Luxembourgish, Italian and English, while revealing that he is learning Spanish.
It remains to be seen whether Pjanic has added a seventh language to his collection, given how fleeting his stay in Barcelona turns out to be, but his collection is simply remarkable either way.
Arsène Wenger – 6 languages
Let’s face it, you only have to listen to Wenger speak for a few minutes to know he’s an incredibly smart guy. After all, he is FIFA’s head of global football development.
And the Arsenal icon once confirmed he spoke French, English, German, Spanish, Italian as well as bits of Japanese from his time at Nagoya Grampus before moving to Highbury.
Clarence Seedorf – 6 languages
Another true football genius we bow to both for his ability on the ball as well as his talent for crossing languages with Babbel pointing at him in no less than six different languages.
The only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs speaks Dutch, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Surinamese.
Petr Cech – 5 languages
In an interview with Cambridge University in 2017, the Chelsea legend was accused of speaking Czech, German, English and French and having made great strides in learning Spanish.
Considering he has gone so far as to say he can understand and talk to his Spanish teammates, we’re happy to put him at a respectable five that we could only dream of competing with.
My God. We should have done more at school …
It’s no secret that footballers have to be smart operators to reach such a high level in their area of expertise, but you know you seriously know when you can navigate between languages, too.
So, whether it’s the multilingual skills of Dier, Lukaku or Arteta that impress you the most, be sure to tell us about the many polyglots we will inevitably have missed on our social media.