Manchester United have a large Spanish-speaking contingent at the moment. David de Gea, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are from Spain, while Antonio Valencia, Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo and Angel di Maria are from South America.
And this will help the latter trio to settle well in Manchester, according to Juan Sebastian Veron, who was on the books of United between 2001 and 2003.
The former Argentina international playmaker struggled during his time in England, which also included a spell at Chelsea, and failed to come to grips with life off the pitch.
When Veron joined United from Italian club Lazio in the summer of 2001, he had only Diego Forlan and Laurent Blanc with whom he could speak in Spanish. But fellow Argentines Rojo and Di Maria have a whole host of teammates with whom they can speak in the language and share a social life.
‘It makes it easier if there are players who speak your language, who are familiar faces’, Veron told The Times. ‘And the world is smaller now, so it is far simpler to get things like mate (the herbal tea Argentines, Chileans and Uruguayans drink in industrial quantities) or to have a proper Argentine asado, to have a little reminder of home’.
However, Veron does not want his compatriots or the South American players at United to withdraw themselves from their teammates and live in their own little world. The 39-year-old wants them to mingle with others and enjoy the city of Manchester.
‘There is a danger, though, in players not being exposed to the culture they are now a part of’, he said. ‘It is not necessarily a good thing to cocoon yourself away, because then the language becomes a barrier. The most important thing is to get used to the place where you live, to become a part of the club and the city, not to be surrounded by reminders of home all the time’.
Veron’s advice to Falcao (who reportedly cost United £6 million in loan fee), Di Maria (£59.7m from Real Madrid) and Rojo (£16m from Sporting Lisbon) is sound and something that should be followed.
The trio have come to a new country with a new language and a new culture. For them to perform on the football pitch, it is important that they settle into life off it.