Who Are The Multilingual Football Players In The World

30 May 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Geoffroy Van der Hasselt

When it comes to football (or as some may affectionately call it "soccer"), the pitch is the stage and all the athletes, referees, and coaches are merely players. The pitch aka the stage is always going to be as it is: luscious green and rectangular. The athletes, coaches, and referees aka the players are always going to be different, depending on the location and the match. Now, despite the standard field and the variation of talented players, this international production is one of the most exciting and exhilarating 90-minute sports productions one can ever witness. So, if you’re wondering whether or not you should see a football match, the answer is oui, ja, sì, sí, sim, and tak – one-word answer: yes.

Interestingly, these football stars are not only skilled in their football kicks and hat tricks but many of them are also gifted in the world of languages. Specifically, many of them are multilingual, and they frequently use this amazing skill in press conferences, interviews, and everyday interactions with their teams. Would you care to know who these football language brainiacs are?

    • Kylian Mbappé:
      Mbappé is a French footballer who plays for the Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain; he is also the captain of the France national football team. Mbappé is fluent in French, English, and Spanish. As an avid language learner, he is also learning Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic.
    • Barbra Banda:
      Forward Barbra Banda plays for both the Zambia women's national football team and the Shanghai Shengli club in China. Banda is bilingual in English and Nyanja or Chinyanja which is a Bantu language.
    • Romelu Lukaku:
      Lukaku is a Belgian footballer who plays as a striker. He is currently on loan from Chelsea FC and plays for Inter Milan and the Belgium national football team. The Belgian striker can speak French, Dutch, German, Italian, English, Portuguese, and Lingala.
    • Christiane Endler:
      Endler is a Chilean goalkeeper for Division 1 Féminine club Lyon and the Chile national football team. She speaks German, Spanish, English, Portuguese, and some French.
    • Miralem Pjanić:
      Pjanić is a genius midfielder for Sharjah Football Club, an Emirati football club in the UAE Pro League. Pjanic speaks English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Luxembourgish.
    • Zlatan Ibrahimović:
      Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimović is one of the best strikers of all time and he plays for Serie A club AC Milan. He speaks five languages: English, Italian, Bosnian, Swedish, and Spanish.
    • Henrikh Mkhitaryan:
      Mkhitaryan is an Armenian footballer for the Bosnia and Herzegovian national football team, and the Serie A club Inter Milan and he plays as an attacking midfielder or as a winger. Mkhitaryan speaks Russian, French, Armenian, Ukrainian, English, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
    • Cristiano Ronaldo:
      Portuguese forward and captain Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for the Portugal national football team and Al-Nassr FC, a premiere Saudi Arabian football club with its home base in Riyadh. Ronaldo, known as one of the greatest players of all time, is a polyglot and he speaks Portuguese, English, Italian, and Spanish.
    • Radja Nainggolan:
      Nainggolan is a Belgian professional football player who plays for the Italian club SPAL as a midfielder. He speaks four languages: Dutch, English, Italian, and French.
    • Paul Pogba:
      French football player Paul Pogba plays primarily as a central midfielder (but can also play as a left winger, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, and a playmaker) for Juventus Football Club and the France National Team. Pogba is multilingual and can speak French, English, Italian, and Spanish.