“A few days ago I went to buy a pizza and bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen for years who was working as a delivery guy. He asked if I could give him a job, telling me that he couldn't stand the pressure, how he had to get things delivered in 30 minutes, jump red lights, deal with furious clients and so on. That’s when you realise how lucky you are to have a wonderful job like this.”
Slaven Bilic, Croatia coach

“For others, the dream is Real or Barça. For me, it was always Arsenal. I’m proud to be a Gunner.”
Marouane Chamakh

“[Javier] Pastore is priceless. He is one of the strongest players in the world. He is a player who will win the Golden Ball one day.”
Maurizio Zamparini, Palermo president

“Xavi or Iniesta, who scored in the [World Cup] Final. He was the best player in the tournament, even though Diego Forlan was chosen. I want the winner to be someone in our [Barcelona] locker room.”
Lionel Messi on who he wants to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or

“The most beautiful memory is the sporting rivalry existed between Napoli and Juve, between Maradona and me. Maradona and I were often compared by the media, but the profound and mutual respect that existed between us always prevailed.”
Michel Platini

"I was a bit hesitant when we started, but once we got going I was fine. It was an amazing experience. Now I want my team to follow me and climb to the top.”
Vitezslav Lavicka, who has a fear of heights, after scaling Sydney Harbour Bridge, which he vowed to do when his struggling Sydney FC side won their first match of the season

"My big dream is to win the Champions League final at Wembley. I still have a picture of the goal [Ronald] Koeman scored in Barça’s first final there. Wembley is a symbol from when I was a boy. It's a big stadium and the scene of our first Champions League triumph. Just like any fan, it is a major point in my childhood.”
Victor Valdes

“There were days when I sat down to watch the matches and cried with sadness, all alone. I thought about returning so much that I even dreamt about scoring goals. What encouraged me was being alongside Ronaldo, a guy that has overcome various injury problems.”
Dentinho of Corinthians on his long spell on the sidelines

“The decision on my contract renewal will be a mutual one. There is one certainty though: I want to carry on playing. I will do that either for Juventus or overseas, because I could not wear the shirt of another Italian club.”
Alessandro Del Piero

“English football is very fast and physical. As well as being a player who tries to start moves when I have the ball, I’ve always liked a tackle, so that’s why I’m not finding it very hard to adapt.”
Ramires to FIFA.com

“I'm sorry for the lads. This is not a pleasant situation for me, but I have been through things like this before and I managed to put them behind me. I will also get over this.”
Patrick Helmes after his two penalties misses against Borussia Monchengladbach condemned Bayer Leverkusen to elimination from the DFB-Pokal

"This Milan has to aim for the Scudetto. Just as we also have to aim for the Champions League and the Coppa Italia. We have a team of 28 players that always has to take aim at achieving the maximum.”
Massimiliano Allegri

“I listen to the opinion of everybody and I may agree with them or not. I don't care what people say - I know I am not a selfish player.”
Cristiano Ronaldo

“I think we will be able to reach the Final – that's our expectation in four years' time. If we have a good mentality and maintain our discipline, as well as qualifying from our group in Africa, we can do well in Brazil in 2014.”
John Pantsil of Ghana to FIFA.com

"It remains a scar that will only disappear when I wear the shirt again. My ban is almost finished, so I am highly motivated. I will play for my country until my legs won't allow it."
Patrice Evra his desire to return to the France team following the FIFA World Cup debacle

“Although he didn’t have a great World Cup, Messi is my favourite. He is the greatest. I think Balotelli could make the next list. If he puts a few things right then he could become a phenomenon.”
Claudio Marchisio on the FIFA Ballon d’Or

“For us Diego was everything. It's right that he is celebrated all over Naples. We will dedicate him the three points if we win. We are thinking about getting a positive result.”
Paolo Cannavaro on Napoli’s desire to beat Brescia in a tribute to Diego Maradona’s 50th birthday

“It is flattering to hear that big clubs are interested in you, and it’s a sign that I’m getting better, but I’m very relaxed about it all. I don’t suppose anyone would want to pay my €36m buy-out clause.”
Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao

"I know that Manchester United are closely monitoring my situation. I've had the opportunity to leave Standard on more than once occasion, but I loved the club too much. But I’m 22 now and there comes a time when you just have to make the next step in your career, regardless of sentiments for any club.”
Steven Defour

"It was over 30 years ago when I first came to this club. To see it come back for our loyal fans of the past, as well as for the next generation of fans, is very exciting to me. The New York Cosmos name resonates all over the world.”
Giorgio Chinaglia upon his appointment as the club’s International Ambassador

“I would like to manage in the [English] Premier League. It has very good teams, an exceptional level and great players. If any important job comes along, I will accept it.”
Diego Maradona

“For me, Chiellini is the roughest and toughest marker, the one that I suffer from the most. He doesn't let you breathe.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of AC Milan-Juventus

“He is probably the best coach in the world. It is often difficult to decide in these cases who is the best, but his career in several countries is immaculate.”
Pep Guardiola on Jose Mourinho