Thu 05 January 2023 | 11:30

Hardest names to pronounce in football history

If you thought pronouncing the names of footballers is difficult, you’re not alone, as we have twisted our tongues trying to pronounce these names correctly. Follow us below as we take a brief look at the bio of footballers with the hardest names to pronounce.

Football is certainly a worldwide sport, with billions of fans watching the World Cup from all over the world. Millions of children grow up dreaming of being the greatest of the best and playing in one of Europe's top five leagues. While having so many football fans and sharing the enthusiasm with millions and billions of people is incredible, it has also caused issues for every single football aficionado out there, since we have all encountered the language barrier at some point in our life.

There are certain languages that tend to have a rather exotic tone and pronunciation system. Of course it is only exotic to those who don’t speak the language, as it is quite normal for its native speakers. That is why, when we say a particular name is one of the

hardest names to pronounce in football history

, it is only based on the difficulty that foreigners face when pronouncing the name, as it might be quite easy to articulate for the native speakers.

So while we try not to bore you with linguistics, let’s see which the most difficult names in football history are.

Footballers with the hardest names to pronounce

Before moving on and taking a brief look at some of the players who have managed confuse millions across the world, here is a list of all the footballers mentioned down below.

  • Kolbeinn Sigþórsson

  • Kevin Großkreutz

  • Gylfi Sigurðsson

  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan

  • Šime Vrsaljko

  • Grzegorz Wojtkowiak

  • Jakub Wawrzyniak

  • Wojciech Szczęsny

  • Jakub Błaszczykowski

  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos

If you haven’t already gotten dizzy trying to read and correctly pronounce the

most difficult names in football history

, read on as we provide details about their professional lives.

Kolbeinn Sigþorsson

One of the

hardest names to pronounce in football history

is definitely Kolbeinn Sigþórsson’s name, as even some of its characters are unknown and alien to many of the other countries. Sigþórsson, is a 32-year-old center-forward, who was born on 14 March 1990, and plays for IFK Goteborg. The Iceland international has had quite a career for himself over the years, as he has played for some of the clubs in Europe’s top leagues.

Over his illustrious career, the center-forward has played for clubs such as

AZ Alkmaar

, Ajax, FC Nantes, Galatasaray, AIK and now IFK Goteborg. While he might be nearing the end of his career as a 32-year-old striker, his prime days were certainly during his stint in Eredivisie, where he got to play for AZ Alkmaar and Ajax.

He rose up the ranks and graduated from Alkmaar academy and later joined Ajax for €4 million back in 2011. While his name is one of the hardest football player names to pronounce, Sigþórsson himself is also difficult to defend against, as he has scored a total of 68 goals and provided 22 assists in 249 appearances throughout his career. The Iceland international has also made himself quite a trophy cabinet, winning three Eredivisie titles and a Dutch Super Cup with


during his stay at the Dutch club.

Kevin Großkreutz

German right-back Kevin Großkreutz has certainly had a satisfying career for himself, even though he might have given many a commentators a hard time as one of the

footballers with the hardest names to pronounce

. The 34-year-old was in fact a Borussia Dortmund academy product, but he got to start his career at Rot Weiss Ahlen as a talented defender. Of course he later got to make his dream move and return to his parent club Dortmund in 2009, where he got to stay for almos six years and enjoy the prime of his career.

Großkreutz is a true football veteran, as his unbelievably immense versatility helped him play on a whole array of positions on the pitch. He went on to make a total of 236 appearances for Die Borussen, as he managed to score 27 goals and provide a further 37 assists in the process.

The former

Borussia Dortmund

winger’s name might be one of the hardest names to pronounce in football history, but that is not the thing that he can be proud of the most, as he has made himself a world-class trophy cabinet with 2 Bundesliga titles, a DFB Pokal, 2 Super Cups, a 2. Bundesliga title and the crown jewel shining in the center, the 2014 World Cup trophy.

Gylfi Sigurosson

Even though Iceland have never won a European Championship or a World Cup, they should at least be proud of having some of the hardest names to pronounce in football history, as Gylfi Sigurðsson is only one of the dozens of Icelandic players who have given commentators trying to pronounce their names an unshakable headache during matches. Sigurðsson is one of the most successful and widely-known Iceland internationals, as the 33-year-old currently plays under Carlo Ancelotti at



The Attacking midfielder was in fine form lately, carrying The Toffees’ midfield single-handedly. Throughout his career, the Iceland international has played for many clubs, some of which include Reading, Crewe Alexandra, Swansea and

Tottenham Hotspur

. The only time Sigurðsson played outside of the UK was when he spent almost two seasons at TSG Hoffenheim.

Overall, the versatile midfielder has made over 481 appearances and has managed to score a total of 117 goals, adding another 78 assists in the process. Not only has he scored an impressive number of goals throughout his career, but he also has one of the most difficult names in football history.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s name might not be as difficult to pronounce as some of the other

hardest football player names to pronounce

on this list, but it is still quite a challenge for many football fans and commentators to pronounce his name correctly. The 34-year-old midfielder has had an illustrious career with some of the best clubs in the world, which helped him build an impressive trophy cabinet for himself.

The Armenian midfielder started his career in his home country of Armenia and later moved to Ukraine, where he gained more international attention, which led to him join Borussia Dortmund back in 2013. While Germans are used to hearing the hardest names to pronounce in football history thanks to all their homegrown and foreign players, it has still been a challenge for many around the world to pronounce Henrikh Mkhitaryan correctly.

The Attacking midfielder later joined

Manchester United

from Dortmund for €42 million, while later moving to their league rivals


for €34 million. Of course his move to the London-based club was not as successful as he might have hoped for, as he quickly moved out on loan and joined AS Roma and then left the club to join Inter Milan in 2022.

Sime Vrsaljko

Next on our list of hardest names to pronounce in football history is the Croatian right-back Šime Vrsaljko, who currently plays for Olympiacos. While Vrsaljko had joined Atletico Madrid in 2016, it was during his loan spell at Inter that he managed to gain quite a reputation for his performance, which saw a significant rise in his market value as it almost doubled in a single season.

Of course his career at Atletico was not as impressive as he and his fans might have hoped for, as it did not take long for the Croatia international to turn into a flop at his club, who had reportedly paid €14 million to acquire his services.

Undoubtedly, the 30-year-old enjoyed the best of his career at

Dinamo Zagreb

, the same club whose academy he graduated from in the first place. He went on to win several titles with his parent club and has also won the 2017-18 Europa League with Atletico Madrid.

Grzegorz Wojtkowiak

Perhaps pronouncing the names of

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

and Gylfi Sigurðsson has gotten significantly easier for many in the world of football, as they have heard their names over and over again in recent years. But there are those on the list of hardest names to pronounce in football history that taking a look at them for the first time might in fact prove to be a challenge, as we hear these names less than the ones whom we have gotten to know over the years.

One such example is Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, who has never played in Europe’s top-five leagues, but made so many people scratch their heads trying to pronounce his name at the Euros. If you were wondering how his name is pronounced, it is “Gje-goj Voit-'ko-vē-ak”, with the first name starting with a hard “g” sound and being followed by a “J” sound. The 38-year-old center-back announced his retirement in 2021.

Jakub Wawrzyniak

39-year-old retired footballer Jakub Wawrzyniak might not be known by many nowadays, but his name will forever echo in the halls of mispronounced fame as one of the hardest names to pronounce in football history. The “r” in Wawrzyniak is almost silent and there is almost no need to pronounce the consonant, unlike most other names in



The former professional footballer spent almost all of his time in his home country and was not much of an international superstar during his playing days. Even so, he got to make more than 350 appearances throughout his career, even scoring 13 goals and providing 38 assists in the process as well.

Wojciech Szczesny

Juventus and their fans are truly blessed to have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in their squad, Gianluigi Buffon, and the man who claims to be better than the Italian legend as he managed to put him on the bench and take his place as the first-choice keeper. That man’s name, which has twisted our tongues too many a times, is Wojciech Szczęsny. The Polish goalkeeper has certainly earned his place on the list of

hardest names to pronounce in football history

, as his first name completely overshadows his already difficult to pronounce surname.

Biased joking aside, Szczęsny is truly one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, as he has had quite a career with Juventus since joining the

Serie A

club in 2017. The 32-year-old started his professional career at Arsenal, where he did not get to make much of a big break during his first season. He did, however, gain quite a prominence after his loan transfer to

AS Roma

, where he caught the attention of league rivals Juventus, who later acquired the goalkeeper from The Gunners for €14 million.

Having one of the hardest names to pronounce in football history, Szczęsny has made over 487 appearances throughout his career and has managed to win a whole array of trophies with both


and Arsenal. He won 2 FA Cups and a Community Shield with the Premier League side, and has since won 3 Scudetti, the Coppa Italia and 2 Supercoppa Italiana trophies with Turin-based club.

Jakub Blaszczykowski

It seems that Iceland is not the only country that can produce some of the hardest names to pronounce in football history, as Poland seems to also be a fine producer of hard to pronounce names. Many of you, especially if you are a Bundesliga fan, already know who Jakub Błaszczykowski is, as he used to play the best of his football at Borussia Dortmund during the club’s prime days.

The 35-year-old attacking midfielder joined the German side from Wisla Krakow for €3.5 million and managed to triple his market value in the almost eight years that he spent at the club, winning two back to back Bundesliga titles, 2 back to back Super Cups and the DFB-Pokal. Błaszczykowski is currently playing for Polish side Wisla Krakow and has made a total of 428 appearances throughout his illustrious career, scoring 54 goals and providing 80 assists in the process.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

You might have been looking for this one on the list of hardest football player names to pronounce, as Greek names have always proven difficult to pronounce since the great age of Greece thousands of years ago. Sokratis Papastathopoulos, pronounced “Sō-'kra-tēz Pa-pas-ta-'tho-poo-los”, is known to many of the football fans, as the Greek center-back has managed to play in some of the best leagues in Europe throughout his career. These clubs include AEK Athens, Genoa,

AC Milan


Werder Bremen

, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and



Even though Papastathopoulos got to play in both Italy and England, it was during his time in Germany at Borussia Dortmund that the defender gained international prominence and spent five years at the club. The 34-year-old is truly a veteran of the game as he has made over 540 appearances throughout his career, during which he’s also managed to score 24 goals and provide 9 assists.

He might not be on the list of highest scoring center-backs or defenders with the most assists, but he will forever be remembered by the current generation of people as the one whose name was so difficult to even properly print due it is whopping 16 characters, that he had to wear his first name on the back of his shirt instead of traditionally using his surname or nickname.




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