With the UEFA Champions League final on the horizon, UEFA.com gives all you commentators and armchair pundits alike the perfect guide on how to say those tricky names correctly.
The Italian ‘ch’ is more like a ‘k’ for English speakers, whereas the Croatian ‘ć’ is an English ‘ch’. Gonzalo Higuaín’s name has three vowels in a row – a red light for English speakers – but can be anglicised elegantly enough. Croatia is just across the Adriatic from Italy, so imagine Marco Pjaca’s name as an Italian ‘piazza’ and you will be pretty much there.
Andrea Barzagli – Bar-za-lyee
Mehdi Benatia – Ben-at-ear
Gianluigi Buffon – Boo-fon
Giorgio Chiellini – Kee-ell-ee-nee
Gonzalo Higuaín – Ee-gway-een
Stephan Lichtsteiner – Litch-sti-ner
Mario Mandžukić – Man-joo-kitch
Claudio Marchisio – Mar-kee-sio
Marko Pjaca – Pee-at-za
Miralem Pjanić – Pee-ah-nitch
Pepe does not use that second vowel if you pronounce his name in Portuguese, while the ‘oo’ in Toni Kroos’s surname does not sound like English speakers would like it to. The Colombian pronounciation of the common English first name ‘James’ is also markedly different.
Karim Benzema – Ben-zi-mah
Dani Carvajal – Car-va-hal
Fábio Coentrão – Kwen-trow (rhymes with cow)
Mateo Kovačić – Ko-va-chitch
Toni Kroos – Crows
Luka Modrić – Mod-rich
Pepe – Pep
James Rodríguez – Ha-mess
Lucas Vázquez – Vath-kess