"(Lionel) Messi is close to Maradona. That means, in my opinion, he can't be compared to Pele. I still consider Maradona in front of Messi. With Pele, no. Pele has all the qualities and characteristic that a football player has to have. When God created him [Pele], he put every quality a footballer needs; speed, strength, impulse, technique, kicking ability, heading, dribbling – all of it, everything that a player might have. [Messi has] almost everything, but he doesn't have the World Cup titles that Pele has. This [means] a lot."
Former Brazil great and current Kashima Antlers technical director Zico compares Lionel Messi with Diego Maradona and Pele, speaking with Omnisport
"After the World Cup Final, the president of Croatia looked at me and said ‘nice moustache’. And I told her, ‘I love Mykonos’. I don’t know why but I’ve always confused Greece and Croatia. She said ‘thank you’ and she left. Then, Olivier (Giroud) looks at me and says: ‘Are you stupid? Mykonos is Greece.’ I told him, ‘Oh god, I don’t know anymore. It’s okay, I’m world champion!’"
France defender Adil Rami recalls an interaction he had with President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic after Les Bleus' 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup Final, speaking with 20 minutes
"With the potential he has, if he wants, he can be the best in the world. In the new role he's playing, he can score more goals in the position he has and he has the potential to do so."
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho on team-mate Eden Hazard, speaking with Sky Sports
Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric poses for a photograph with all of his individual and team awards he won in 2018
"I think Salah is the greatest Egyptian player. If I judge all players, we had so many great players in the Egyptian history, we've had fantastic players who have done great for the country and for their own clubs back in Egypt as well. But football is in Europe. If a player can play at the top for ten, 12 years in Europe, I think he should be considered the best player in Egyptian history."
Former Egypt forward Mido on Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah in an interview with CNN
"The U-17 World Cup was the bigger moment than anything else. It was like winning the lottery being called up. It was God. I wasn’t so good. I thought there were other players who were better than me at the time and now I am in the national team. It was God and hard work as well that got me here. The life-changing moment was playing in the U-17 World Cup. I went to open trials where anyone under 17 could come and show what you can do. I went from that to being selected among the 24 players to be selected to represent the country. It was massive. We played against the likes of Isco, who plays for Real Madrid, and we beat Spain. We lost to Switzerland in the final but I was already a winner for going."
Nigeria defender Kenneth Omeruo speaks with Goal about representing his country at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2009 on home soil
USA midfielder Carli Lloyd looks forward to 2019, stating her intent to compete at the Women's World Cup in France, which will be held from 7 June to 7 July
"Does winning all those trophies give me the hunger to get more this season? Yes, of course. The last few years have provided some beautiful memories for me. There have been beautiful achievements of winning titles with my team-mates. I hope to continue in the same way. Even if we had ups and downs with Chelsea last year, because we didn’t get into the top four, we finished well with the FA Cup. Following that, by winning the World Cup with the national team was a beautiful way to end 2017/18."
Chelsea and France midfielder Ngolo Kante talks about his hunger to win more trophies with the Evening Standard
Manchester City centre-back John Stones reacts to his remarkable goal-line sliding clearance after his side's pulsating 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League
Our 2019 Resolution: Blocking negativity from our life. pic.twitter.com/qDfYZBGkQ9— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) January 1, 2019
Borussia Dortmund's English Twitter account has some fun with New Year's resolutions at the expense of local rivals Schalke 04