Football is the most popular sport in the world with millions of people playing regularly and billions watching daily. Although everyone may not speak the same language, football is the way that everyone can connect with each other in a positive way. Because of the scale of popularity football has, football players nowadays travel around the world to play their sport as a job and each individual must consider about different cultures and languages.
The footballer must consider whether the move would suit them and that they are able to not just learn the specific language, but also understand and respect the culture within the local community. Here are different footballers who have used the importance of learning the different languages to move abroad to play and earn a living.
Petr Čech – Czech Republic (English, French, Spanish)
Petr boasts a wide range of different languages which he has learned from travelling Europe playing football and from studying at home in order to communicate with teammates. He began playing in his home country aged 17 and spent the first 2 and a half years of his professional career there.
In July 2002, he moved to French side Rennes at the age of 20. He faced the challenges of learning the French culture and language which was sure to be a challenge to him. He was faced with the challenge of understanding and speaking the language as well as focusing on the football. This would of have been very difficult at the time due to him having a lot of things to work out but benefited him the future as it would give him a lot of opportunities to succeed within football or outside of the sport in the future.
In 2004, he made a move to Chelsea in the English Premier league which would be the move which turned him into one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and labelled a ‘club legend’ by the supporters. His success wasn’t just down to his ability on the pitch but also because of his ability to communicate with the supporters and understand the language. This also gave him success when he moved to London neighbours Arsenal in 2015. Cech today continues to play in England and utilises the importance of many different cultures to show respect towards the country and supporters and also to interact in a positive way with fellow teammates from a variety of different backgrounds.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Gabon/French/Spanish (French, Spanish, English) Pierre was born in Laval, France and grew up speaking French. He chose Gabon as his country to represent due to it being his father’s native country. Due to his mother being Spanish, he was able to learn the language from an early age. He began his football career in his native country of France, before moving to have longer spells in both Italy and Germany where he learned both languages. He then made a move to England in 2018, where he joined Arsenal and had already learned the language but adapted to the English culture. As well as Petr, Pierre has been able to use the variety of languages he has learned to communicate with different people from a variety of nationalities and have a better knowledge of different locations.
Ander Herrera – Spain (Spanish, English) Ander was born in Bilbao, Spain and grew up speaking Spanish and the Basque language due to being born in the Basque country. He began playing football for Zaragoza before moving to his hometown club of Athletic Club. He then was a fan favourite at the labelled ‘les Leones’. He was soon to move and did so with the challenge of now playing for the biggest football club in the world – Manchester United. Faced with him was the task of learning the language and culture of English people. After several years, he has succeeded in learning English and is now one of the core leaders of the side. His ability to speak Spanish and English has enabled him to communicate with the media and fans as well as his teammates. Some fans even label him as the future ‘captain’ of the team due to his ability to communicate and be a leader on and off the pitch with people from different cultures
The ability to learn English, French or Spanish is of great benefit as seen in these examples. It shows how beneficial and positive it is to learn and how rewarding and successful it can be. Whether it is playing football in Liverpool, travelling to Madrid or owning a business in Paris, the use of language can always be positive and give you the best chance of being a success in the future.
Thanks to Bradley, one of our trainees, for writing this blog. Well done! Bravo :)