“Watching him is pure spectacle. He designs workouts for specific positions, does tactical work. I like how he talks to his men and how close he is to them. I also like the way he handles their relationship with the press. He is the best coach in the world. He always wins and reaches finals. Judging from what I’ve seen and how he commands the team, he isn’t just the best now, but one of the best in football history.”
Rogerio Ceni on Jose Mourinho after observing a Real Madrid training session

“I see, the team in white are Real Madrid, not Novara. I wouldn’t like to be Moratti’s ashtray tonight. Exchanging Eto’o for Forlan is the equivalent of swapping Roberto Carlos for Pistone.”
Valentino Rossi, the motorbike superstar after watching his beloved Inter Milan lose at home to the team rock-bottom of Serie A

“The match was a disgrace. I wondered what had happened to the team I knew – it is worse than I thought. It’s an abyss that keeps happening weekend after weekend. Arsenal used to be a team of contenders, but now they are simply participants.”
Emmanuel Petit following Arsenal’s 4-0 loss at AC Milan

“In Italy, coaches are considered ‘moreish’ - like eating cherries, one leads to another.”
Claudio Ranieri

“Robben is a selfish player. His reaction alone after a goal [epitomises that] - he does not thank the person who gave the assist, but runs toward the stands to look for his family. That way the team has to run after him again. There will come a moment where his team-mates will think, 'If I give you the ball and don't get the appreciation for it, come and get it yourself next time.' He should think more about the team.”
Franz Beckenbauer

"A coach cannot be happy when it is Operation Open All the Doors in defence.”
Rudi Garcia after his Lille side lost 5-4 at home to Bordeaux

"On the pitch he was the opposite of how we know him today. Let's just say that he did the bare minimum. Even in training he was not a great worker. He was a luxury player, a classic playmaker capable of suddenly pulling something out of the bag, [but] unwilling to sacrifice for the team. Now he's known as a coach that demands a lot from his players. So I never would have said that he would become a coach, especially at this level, but now he is a very good one. He proved it by winning the Scudetto with Milan at the first attempt, and also in the hammering of Arsenal in the Champions League."
Pierpaolo Bisoli on his former Cagliari team-mate Massimiliano Allegri

“When you look around the league at the salaries, as well as what teams are spending in the transfer market, compared to Everton, it's almost a miracle this team finish as high as it does every year. He gets the most out of every player. He has been fantastic and I can't imagine the things this club would do with some of the budgets the other clubs have. It would be a very sad day if he ever left, that's for sure."
Landon Donovan on David Moyes

“Pique has no reason to be angry - you know I love him. For us he is untouchable.”
Pep Guardiola after dropping the centre-back for Barcelona’s victory at Bayer Leverkusen

“The Champions League? I’m happy even though I’ve never won it. Several years ago my ambition was to win it at all costs. If you make winning something too important, you will only end up not winning it.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“It was a sign of destiny, written in the sky. There was a force with us.”
Herve Renard
on Zambia becoming African champions

“When I started out at Manchester United my entire coaching staff consisted of just eight people, and that included my assistant coaches, fitness trainers and scouts. Now I’ve got ten sport scientists!”
Sir Alex Ferguson
to FIFA.com

“If someone left the field today anything less than tired, believe me, I’d be the first to tear their arms off.”
Dejan Stankovic
following Inter Milan’s defeat by Novara

"If he finishes top scorer in the championship and goes to the EURO with Les Bleus, how are we going to keep him? He won’t stay on the salary he’s on, which is already high – do not dream!”
Louis Nicollin, Montpellier’s president, on Ligue 1’s 16-goal leading marksman Olivier Giroud