Professional soccer players, especially those that are in the top leagues and considered the very best of the best, have to travel all around the world for different matches.
Plus, they usually have to partake in a lot of international events, as well as press conferences and interviews for their followers and fans! This means that they often have to be able to communicate in different languages, or at least in the languages mostly used for mediating in international situations.
English is one of those languages, so a lot of soccer players have to eventually learn to speak it. Although not all do!
It goes to show that it really does depend on the circumstances of each soccer player and who they’ve played to. Although perhaps it’s also got to do with whether they want to learn the language or not.
Neymar is also considered as one of the best soccer players in the world, so how does he communicate? Can he speak English? Let’s find out!
How much English does Neymar speak?
Born and raised in Brazil, having never played for an English speaking soccer team, and having never lived in an English speaking country, there is little reason for Neymar to have learned English.
After all, the only contact he’s really had with the language has been through interviews, conferences, or international events. Not exactly enough to learn to speak it.
However, Neymar does in fact speak a little bit of English. He’s not fluent and might not be the best at it yet, but he’s definitely showing an interest in learning to speak it and is slowly making progress as he learns! But, why is he trying to learn the language if he has no direct need for it?
Well, it all started back in 2011. Neymar stated in various interviews that, despite being a highly acclaimed soccer player in the teams that he played for in South America, he was looking forward to eventually moving to Europe and playing for a European country.
So, it kind of makes sense that he would want to learn English, as it’s a pretty good choice of language to get buy within Europe, and the rest of the world in general.
We can safely assume that his interest in learning English, therefore began with the prospects of advancing his career outside of Brazil, meaning he would have to learn to communicate outside of his mother tongue!
In 2013 Neymar finally left South America to play for a soccer team in Europe. However, he didn’t end up moving to an English speaking country at all!
He joined the Barcelona soccer team, in Spain, where they speak Spanish. We could say that his plan backfired language-wise! Obviously, being in Spain, English wasn’t the language he needed to speak at all. Luckily, Spanish is very similar to Brazilian Portuguese, so he can’t have struggled too much! (We can take a closer look at that later!)
Nevertheless, Neymar seemed to practice his English at every opportunity, making an effort in interviews and press conferences. He seems very set on the idea that he needs to learn English in order to better communicate and improve his soccer career!
In 2017, Neymar left the Barcelona soccer team to join a new one. He moved to Paris, in France, where he joined the Saint-Germain soccer club. Once again, not an English-speaking country! Despite this, learning some English has come in handy for Neymar.
It’s especially useful for communicating with other soccer players from around the world. Languages can be a bit of a barrier, and English tends to be the mediating language on an international level, so a lot of soccer players try to learn English so that they can understand each other outside of their native languages! Maybe that is why Neymar is always so eager to keep improving his English skills!
As time goes on, it is clear that Neymar’s English is improving. He’s not yet fluent, and has a long way to go, as he clearly struggles with the language. But this is also because he hasn’t had the opportunity to practice his English as much as he would like, as he does not play for an English speaking soccer team, and has yet to live in an English speaking country.
What do you think of his efforts to learn the language? Is it worth it? We certainly think it’s admirable of him to practice and try his best! Hopefully, soon enough he won’t need any translators at all!
Examples of Neymar speaking in English:
Neymar’s English is slowly improving as time goes on and his soccer career continues to advance into international stardom. Despite not needing the language directly, he seems to like to take opportunities to practice when he can.
Before we show you an example of Neymar speaking in English, we thought we would show you an example of him not being able to speak it. After all, despite his learning efforts, he’s not fluent enough to hold up professional or long conversations and often needs translating when at important events.
He’s clearly a lot more comfortable answering questions in Spanish, as that is a language that he is much more familiar with and that he has used on a regular basis during his time with the Barcelona soccer team.
In this Youtube video, you can watch a clip of the press conference for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which took place in January of 2016 with Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo. While Ronaldo shows off his English speaking skills, Neymar mirrors Messi and answers his questions in Spanish, as he can’t really speak English well enough for the event.
Messi: FIFA Ballon d’Or Press Conference January 2016
Now, let’s find an example of his blooming English language skills! They usually flourish when he’s seen interacting with international fans that speak English, or in more informal interviews and events, where he can attempt to communicate without the stress of being on the record as much.
We found a Youtube video that features a compilation of clips in which Neymar speaks in English (and you can probably find many more if you search for it!)
It’s clear that Neymar can’t speak English very well, but the important thing is that he’s trying! Plus, he’s getting better and better, and we’re sure that he’ll be able to speak it very well one day!
Neymar clips speaking in English video
What languages does Neymar speak and understand?
So, now we know that Neymar understands English pretty well and that he’s on track to learning to speak it better and better.
Despite struggling in formal situations, he tries to practice in more relaxed settings so that he is able to communicate in a more direct way.
But what other languages can he understand and speak? Let’s take a look!
In Brazil, where Neymar was born and raised, they speak Portuguese. It is no wonder, therefore, that Portuguese is Neymar’s primary language and the one he is most comfortable with using. He is completely fluent, and the one he will use given the chance.
However, unfortunately, Portuguese isn’t very commonly used outside of Portuguese speaking countries, so on his journey to becoming an acclaimed and famous soccer player worldwide, Neymar has had to learn other languages with which to communicate.
From 2013 to 2017, Neymar played for the Barcelona soccer team, in Spain. It was the first team he played with outside of South America, and Spanish was, therefore, the first language he had to learn for direct communication.
Luckily, Spanish is very similar to Portuguese, so Neymar didn’t face much of a struggle in learning the language. In fact, he seems to be almost fluent in Spanish and has no problem using it in events, interviews, and press conferences.
As Portuguese can’t really be used as an international language, Neymar uses Spanish as his preferred form of communication, as he is very comfortable in his Spanish speaking skills.
In 2017, Neymar stopped playing for the Barcelona soccer team in Spain, and moved to Paris, in France, where he now plays for the Saint-Germain soccer club. There, the main language used for communication is French, so Neymar has likely had to pick up the language fast, and well enough to get by.
In his time there so far, it has become clear that Neymar has learned to understand French pretty well, which is a good thing as everything there will be in French! However, actually speaking the language is another step altogether, and Neymar doesn’t seem quite there yet.
He can say a few words in French, and we don’t doubt that he’d be able to hold his ground in a simple and easy conversation. However, he can’t really speak it well enough just yet and is probably still early in the learning process.
In fact, it’s pretty safe to assume that Neymar’s French is somewhat similar to his level in English! On the track, but not quite there yet.
The Barcelona soccer team, in Spain, is within the region of Catalonia, where they also speak Catalan. So we wondered whether Neymar had also learned Catalan during his time playing with them. We know he speaks Spanish very well, but did he learn two languages instead of one?
Neymar has stated that he can indeed understand the Catalan language, especially with having lived there for a few years. He kind of picked it up in the day to day life and from the people around him.
However, as the Barcelona soccer team has players from all around the world, it’s kind of an unwritten rule that they communicate in Spanish within the dressing room.
That way it’s a lot easier for them to understand each other on an international level! So while Neymar understands Catalan pretty well, he hasn’t actually learned to speak it, and can only say a couple of basic words.
Neymar has been trying to learn to speak English since he first began to set his eyes on Europe, and his international soccer career.
However, after leaving South America, Neymar played with the Barcelona soccer team in Spain, where he learned to speak Spanish and to understand Catalan.
In 2017 he started playing for the Saint-Germain Paris soccer team, in France, where he’s facing the struggle of a new language to learn.
In between it all, Neymar hasn’t had the chance to fully commit to learning English, and he is yet to live in an English speaking country, which would really help with the learning.
Nevertheless, Neymar keeps practicing his English so that he may better communicate on an international level. Although he can’t speak it well enough for official interviews and press conferences, he sometimes shows off his basic English skills in more informal settings.
And luckily, he has learned to understand the language pretty well, so that he at least knows what’s going on around him!