Important World Cup Investigation: Do You Hear 'Zhirkov' or 'Jerkoff'?

A whole new audience is being introduced to the Russian national team player Yuri Zhirkov. And they can't stop giggling about it.

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Jun 14 2018, 10:26pm

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The 2018 World Cup launched today without a hitch for the host nation of Russia. Putin wore a "fluffy bra," Robbie Williams flipped off billions of people, and then Russia decimated Saudi Arabia 5-0. And they did it all with some Zhirkov on the team.

Russian national team player Yuri Zhirkov has been around for a hot minute. The man is 34-years-old, appeared in the last World Cup, and even played at Chelsea for a stint. But that doesn't mean everyone knows about him—and more importantly: the, uh, slighty NSFW-ish pronunciation of his last name (Click here and search the Russian team). For some, this year's World Cup was their first time to delight in how announcers say his name. You could almost say it's the new Yanny-Laurel?

Just take a quick look through a Twitter search of the words "Zhirkov jerkoff" (which isn't as dangerous as it sounds—not yet at least). Some people knew what to expect:

But the vast majority of people were dawning on this for the first time:

And some people thought it was a cultural difference (it's not):

Then there were even some conspiracy theories milling about:

This one person thought to incorporate the first name too, for extra kick:

But no reaction to hearing Zhirkov's name can quite top this one:

The future is bright with a new generation of soccer fans.

There are a couple of different ways to pronounce "Zhirkov"—and the third one skews a lot farther toward a zeer-cough kind of pronunciation that'd be much better to hear. But an official pronunciation guide definitely has more of a "jerkoff" vibe to it. Plus, if you're watching an absolute drubbing of one team on another, you might as well pass the time by thinking about this Zhirkov right here.