“I have a statue of Mick Jagger in my house. I’d love to have a rock band! I also have a Mini car painted in Argentina’s colours, with Diego Maradona’s face on one of the doors. I can’t use it in Rome, though, as those are also the colours of Lazio! If I were ever to meet Maradona, I’d give him that car as a gift.”
Pablo Osvaldo

“The only thing I remember about the game is running back and falling. I felt dizzy whilst I was moving back, very dizzy. It was a strange sensation, I felt like I was running inside someone else's body and then I fell. My head hit the ground twice and I lost consciousness. I was dead. I didn't feel pain in my body or my head. I didn't feel anything. That happened on the Saturday and I didn't wake up until the Monday. I have never watched the video because I am not yet ready. Now I intend to enjoy life. It is a miracle that I can do things like travel. It is a miracle because I shouldn't even have lived, so everything that comes now is a bonus. I never thought I would get to step on this pitch. It is the first time I have been to the Bernabeu and to do so surrounded by some of the best players ever, I don't have the words to describe it.”
Fabrice Muamba on the cardiac arrest he suffered and being the guest of honour at a recent Real Madrid-Manchester United charity match

“People are so focused about whether the mood in our camp is good or bad. Having a good mood within the squad is overrated in my view. There has got to be some tension in there. During final tournaments things happen that you cannot plan ahead for. My experience is that when there is tension within the squad, it will have a positive effect. Just look at the World Cup in 2006 after we drew with Trinidad & Tobago. Everybody was unhappy – the players, coaches, media, fans. But it made us ready for the clash against Paraguay, which we then won 1-0.”
Olof Mellberg, who has previously been involved in bust-ups with Sweden team-mates

“Apart from my wife, who might get angry at what I am about to say, there have been four ‘ladies’ in my life. One had red and black stripes, one had black and white ones, another black and blue and one spoke German!”
Giovanni Trapattoni

“I encountered various forwards with quality, but the one who always gave me such difficulty was Ronaldo. When we played together for the national team, he was extraordinary.”
Didi on the toughest opponent he faced in training or a match during his career

“For our generation, a Japanese player going overseas and joining a big club was something you'd only see in a comic book. Shinji's giving kids something to dream about.”
Makoto Hasebe on Shinji Kagawa

“Every day in Mozambique is exciting, and you experience 1,000 things you weren't expecting. Once we turned up for training but the pitch was already in use, so we simply couldn't train. Another time there weren't enough seats on the team bus! Some of the players and I had to follow the bus in a taxi.”
Gert Engels, the south-east African nation’s German coach, to FIFA.com

“Football will never see another Alessandro Del Piero. Juventus will never be able to buy a similar player. Nobody can take his place in the team. He achieved every one of his personal objectives with so much flair and personality. He was such a tremendous embodiment of Juventus, on the pitch and off it. That, you cannot replace.”
Edgar Davids

“When I played my first game for the unified German team, I was subdued. A few months earlier I had scored two goals for East Germany against Belgium, and all of a sudden I heard a different national anthem. But I was able to get over that quite quickly. I was just proud to be part of a German team. I didn’t care about the origin. Maybe in my heart I’d always been a West German [laughs]. Don’t you think that as eight- or nine-year-olds, playing in the yard in East Germany, that we wanted to be just like the best [West German] players? Don’t you think that back in the ‘70s I wanted to be like the West German stars? I just wasn’t allowed to say so out loud.”
Matthias Sammer to FIFA.com