“Like Michael Jordan in basketball, Messi is dominating his sport. Very few people in history have managed to dominate their sport the way Jordan and Messi have. I feel sorry for those who want to compete for Messi's throne – it’s impossible, this kid is unique. He doesn’t just score lots of goals, but he scores lots of great goals, each one being better that the last.”
Pep Guardiola

“It took 15 shocks to get his heart started after he collapsed. If you're going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here. Two hours after regaining consciousness, I whispered in his ear, ‘What's your name?’, and he said, ‘Fabrice Muamba’. I said, ‘I hear you're a really good footballer’, and he said, ‘I try’. I had a tear in my eye."
Dr. Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist and Tottenham Hotspur fan who rushed on to the pitch to aid the Bolton Wanderers midfielder at White Hart Lane

“Massimo Cellino has fun getting on people’s nerves. He’s beyond a joke. One time Cellino sent a letter accusing me of having eaten a 4kg fish! I swear this is true.”
Nedo Sonetti, who was twice sacked by Cellino, after the Cagliari president dismissed Davide Ballardini and refused to pay him compensation due to ‘just cause’

"I have got two skins on top of my own. I could put my rhino skin on if it gets half bad, and if it gets really bad I can put my elephant skin on top of that!”
Sam Allardyce on how he copes with West Ham United's boo-boys

“We judge Maradona based on his entire career, while Messi is still only 24. The fact that we're already comparing them is a tribute to what Lionel has achieved. If we have to differ between them, Maradona was more artistic and had a unique, beautiful style of play. Messi, on the other hand, is more efficient and more consistent. He's dangerous every time he gets the ball. If he continues to perform at this level, he will exceed everyone, including Pele.”
Jorge Valdano

"If you talk about desperation, they played a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch, the manager said he'd never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina. What is that? Could that come under the description of desperation?"
Sir Alex Ferguson on Manchester City utilising Carlos Tevez

"At 18 years old, I was already a millionaire and I was always in the spotlight. That is why I understand Neymar's behaviour – he is like me 20 years ago. But he’s different to Adriano. Adriano prefers to live close to his roots rather than living in Leblon (an upper-class Rio neighbourhood). But let's be honest, it's more of a favela than a community. There he is obviously at a greater risk of getting caught up in problems.”

“I have played in the UEFA Champions League final and other huge games, but I have never been so nervous on the morning of a game. It was probably the best atmosphere I have ever seen, but I’ve mixed feelings now. Growing up I was a massive Kaizer Chiefs fan, so I’m a little heartbroken.”
Benni McCarthy after his double inspired Orlando Pirates to a 3-2 win in the Soweto derby in front of 87,171 fans

"I am very competitive and I feel really bad when we lose. You can see it in me when we've lost – I'm in a very bad way. I don't like to talk to anyone. I just keep myself to myself and go over the game in my head: the things that went wrong, what I did wrong, why we didn't win. Sometimes it can be torture."
Lionel Messi

“Sometimes the mouse can tickle the elephant.”
Giuseppe Sannino before his Siena side’s meeting with Napoli

“Alex McLeish said I prefer cars to football. But if I get wages, I have the right to do what I want with my money. He is not here to tell me what I have to buy or not. He is not my father. He doesn't know where I come from.”
Charles N'Zogbia

"I have to be careful not to head balls that are hit very hard, because I’ve still got the bullet lodged in my head. That’s why I keep working towards my full recovery, as I want to be 100 per cent again to be able to enjoy myself and give it everything I’ve got."
Salvador Cabanas to FIFA.com

“I won’t say it's a miracle – only Jesus makes miracles, not Paris Saint-Germain. We only made a draw.”
Salvatore Sirigu after PSG somehow eked a 2-2 draw out of a trip to Caen

“Some may fear Australia and Japan, but I'm against that. We don’t fear anybody but if we had to fear somebody, it’d be Jordan and Oman as they will want to prove they are not there by chance.”
Younis Mahmoud of Iraq

“He is right up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I wouldn't go as far to say that I think he is the very best footballer on the planet, but Robin van Persie isn’t that far behind Messi and Ronaldo.”
Ray Parlour on Robin van Persie

“Ole today feels like one more [Barça] fan, and will shout its homage from the logo of this front page. Congratulations."
A statement from Ole, the hugely popular Argentinian sports daily, which assumed the name Cule for a day on Wednesday in tribute to Lionel Messi

“Francesco Totti is equivalent to the Pope.”
Nicolas Burdisso