World Cup 2014: stop getting Brazil players’ names wrong

Can Fraijee, Hamires and Hoolky win the World Cup? Impress your friends by being the only person using the correct pronunciation of all the Brazil stars


As Brazil take on Chile in the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup, no doubt you’ll be avidly discussing tactics with your football-loving friends. Is Fred useless up front? Should Hulk make way for a more defensive-minded player, Ramires perhaps? 


Well, beware. As you sip your Brahma and hold forth, you’re almost certainly saying all the players’ names completely wrongly. Even speaking Portuguese is no help unless you’ve done that in Brazil.

“Brazilian Portuguese is very different from Portuguese Portuguese,” says Tim Vickery, the BBC’s South American football correspondent. “Some people would argue that they’re different languages.”

Even BBC commentators regularly use Anglicised pronunciations, although Vickery says this isn’t an editorial guideline aimed at not confusing the viewers. “I just think they don’t know. But some of [the BBC commentators] have done their homework. Whereas I watched the last Uruguay game on ITV and they massacred the Uruguayan names. Massacred them.”

Here’s our guide to going one better than Clive Tyldesley and Jonathan Pearce…


Wrong: “Hoolio Says Arr”

Right: “ZHOO-lio SEZZ-uh”

Tim Vickery: “Usually the stress is on the penultimate vowel, but there’s an accent on Júlio.”


Wrong: “Marchello”

Right: “Mar-SELL-uh”

Tim Vickery: “The ‘o’ at the end is kind of swallowed, but it’s there. ‘Marchello’ is an outrage.” 


Wrong: “Ram E Rez”

Right: “HAM-ee-rez”

Tim Vickery: “The R at the start is always an H sound. So the striker you know as Ronaldo is ‘Honaldo’.”


Wrong: “Fred”

Right: “FRAY-zhee”

Tim Vickery: “Also, [for Hulk] ‘HOO-lky’. In Brazil, ‘Wayne Rooney’ becomes ‘Wayney Rooney’. But sometimes if a vowel is there, they remove it, so Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi is ‘Ketch’.”


Wrong: “Willy Anne”

Right: “oo-ILL-yan”


Tim Vickery: “They don’t really have a W, so the W is a kind of ‘ui’ sound.”