“When I headed towards the changing room, I was feeling proud. As soon as I sat down I was woken up in a violent way – Sir Alex Ferguson rendered me deaf! He was going mad because we came in with only a three-goal lead when we should have wrapped the game up. He was furious about my missed chances and reminded me that this is the very top level. I woke up even more sharply when, 45 minutes later, Everton had come back to 3-3. Only a Ruud van Nistelrooy stoppage-time winner helped me escape the nightmare.”
Louis Saha on going in at half-time after scoring twice for Manchester United at Goodison Park in 2004

"It would be spectacular to win the World Cup in Brazil. Rather than sleep, I dream awake. I have always said that the talent of the group is worth more than the individual. [But] something tells me that I will provide something. I don’t know why. Hopefully that will be the case and we can win the World Cup.”
Lionel Messi

"I see it already, Xavi laughing in his mind standing in front of Parker with the refs before the game thinking, ‘Who is he?’”
Ryan Babel after Scott Parker was handed the England armband

“If it is to compete in a World Cup, why not? The only problem I see is that, if I play for France and we become world champions in Brazil, then I will never be able to return home.”
Nene, Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazil-born attacker, on the prospect of representing Les Bleus

“The most spectacular is Messi, but the best is Xavi."
Johan Cruyff on who is the world’s best player

"My first contact with Harry was when I was still at Newcastle as a player and I was looking to move clubs. He rang me a week before the start of the season – with West Ham due to play Tottenham the next weekend, a massive game in that part of the world – and, having not even signed me, said, ‘You're playing on Saturday. Get yourself fit.’ His man-management skills are outstanding. I wouldn't call him unique: Brian Clough had it, Bill Shankly had it, Sir Alex Ferguson’s got it. All the good managers who are successful have that ability to build their players up and give their players confidence. That's why they're successful.”
Stuart Pearce on Harry Redknapp

"This is obviously a lot of money. But I've always dreamed of costing as much as Zinedine Zidane.”
Marco Reus, who recently cost Borussia Dortmund €17.1m, on his desire to one day eclipse the €73.5m Real Madrid paid for the legendary Frenchman

“We are on the floor for a place in Europe. So let’s dance!”
Francesco Guidolin on whether his Udinese side can qualify for the UEFA Champions League again

"If I am named the new captain, it will not change anything for me, it will not change my personality. The armband will not make me the new Maradona. It is not meaningless, it will not be easy to wear, but I am not obsessed with it."
Philippe Mexes on the vacant France captaincy

“I fear for his future because of his attitude and the attitude of those who manage him. He could end up playing in Spain's Segunda Division.”
Giovanni on Ganso, whom he persuaded Santos to sign from the youth ranks of Paysandu in 2005 and played alongside thereafter before the pair fell out

"I'm really glad that I’m not the father or mother of the Benders. To sit in front of the TV and see the kids bleeding on the pitch, it’s something nobody needs.”
Jurgen Klopp on Lars and Sven – the latter whom he coaches at Borussia Dortmund – after the twins’ courage in going into challenges has left them both with bloodied faces on multiple occasions

"One was going to be sad and one was going to be celebrating. I've got mixed emotions at the moment – I'm delighted to win the cup for our supporters, but I feel for Anthony and Cardiff. It doesn't matter what I say to him at this time – I know he's going to be down. I've been there when I scored an own-goal against Chelsea. I'll be there for him after the game and all the family will be behind him."
Steven Gerrard after his cousin Anthony Gerrard’s penalty miss earned Liverpool the League Cup at Cardiff City’s expense

"I would train them voluntarily. Balotelli is a great player, and so is Cassano. The sky is the limit for Balotelli. He can do everything on the pitch."
Carlo Ancelotti

“John is a player with something extra. Each team in the European Championship will have a joker in the pack, and Sweden’s will be John Guidetti.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the 19-year-old's international debut

"He's a phenomenon. How can he run so much? His style of play is such that it should be exhausting - he is constantly in duels.”
Franz Beckenbauer on Franck Ribery

“It’s very easy to blame Andre. Chelsea are a big team that always fights for first place, so when they are second or third everyone ends up criticising the manager. But Andre has enormous potential, is an excellent person, and I know that he has a great future at Chelsea.”
David Luiz on Andre Villas-Boas

“We could have three Otto Rehhagels and Mourinho in charge, but if we play like that no-one can help us.”
Andre Mijatovic following Hertha Berlin’s 3-0 loss to Augsburg

“He knows my name, which is a nice change!”
Joe Hart, who was referred to as ‘John’ by Fabio Capello’s assistant Franco Tancredi, on what it’s like being in the England squad under Stuart Pearce

"I will not lie to you: [2010] was horrible. I lived the darkest period of my life. But I have turned the page. I am a happy man again. The whistles from the [France] fans are always hard to take. What I did at the World Cup was wrong and they can blame me for that. But that failure crushed me, and the fans must know this. I love playing for France and I feel pride every time I am called up. I used to be the fans' blue-eyed boy. Then I became rejected. But my story with Les Bleus is far from over. Together with the fans, we will have good moments to share."
Franck Ribery