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Sport could be seen as an international language – after all, a goal is a goal however you say it – but what about the footballers and their families who need to get by when the sportsperson is transferred to a team in a foreign country? 

By dint of living for long periods abroad, some players end up with a number of languages under their belt. On the Premier League’s Chelsea team, for instance, Belgian Romelu Lukaku speaks eight languages fluently:  French, Flemish, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. Croatian Mateo Kovacic speaks Croatian, Spanish, German, English and Italian. Four other teammates speak three languages each and a further eight speak two. Tellingly, none of the English players speak more than one language.

While the foreign players’ kids may pick up English fairly quickly, their wives can struggle. However, according to The Sun newspaper, recent Chelsea recruit Thiago Silva’s Brazilian-born wife, Isabelle, is learning English in a VIP box at Stamford Bridge. While Thiago does his thing on the pitch, Isabelle practices with Club employee Anisa – with a little help from her son, who already seems to have a perfect grasp of the language. 

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Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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