World Football

The Week in Quotes

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal talks to the media during a UEFA EURO 2012 press conference
© Getty Images

“Messi does not have the leadership qualities that I had, or the face of Brad Pitt, but he is Argentinian and must be defended. If you keep breaking his balls, he is going to stay in Barcelona and will not come back again.”
*Diego Maradona

“It's very simple: Barça are the best team in history. Pick the best teams in history and compare their results. Not even the Milan team I played in achieved those results. Their strength is that they are professionals. They live for football, that's what motivates them, not celebrity status. Gullit was a super player, but also a celebrity. Xavi is a super player, but he likes being with his family. Messi and Iniesta are the same too. Perhaps the only one who likes being the centre of attention is Pique. To all the others, what interests them is their job as a footballer.”
Marco van Basten

“I was only 21 or 22 years old, I had just arrived. It was difficult to talk about the situation with those around me, not knowing Spanish, in a dressing room full of people who had no idea what was happening. Especially as we had no idea that it would reach such proportions. At the time, there was no internet or mobile phones. If I wanted to find out how things were in my country or with my family, I had to wait for the news or a phone call. Imagine what kind of frame of mind a person is in when they go to training, or to play in a match, knowing that their country is at war.”
Robert Prosinecki to * on his early days at Real Madrid while Yugoslavia was at war*

“You know where he was at this time last year? He was being eliminated from the Copa America, in his very own country... I think that's worse, no?”
*Cristiano Ronaldo on Lionel Messi, after the Denmark fans chanted the Argentinian’s name every time the Portugal No7 received the ball during their UEFA EURO 2012 game*

“People say I should be a mentor to Mario Balotelli? If that’s the case, we’re in big trouble! Who is going to look after me, then?”
Antonio Cassano

“It’s unbelievable, completely incredible! I’m struggling to express what this victory means to our country. We’re going to be taking off to Brazil! We could play against the likes of Brazil or Spain, which would be amazing for us. It’s the optimum emotion. I keep wondering when I’m going to wake up.”
*Eddy Etaeta after his Tahiti troops become the first Pacific Island side in the 39-year history of the OFC Nations Cup to emerge triumphant and consequently secured a place at next year’s FIFA Confederations Cup*

“Daniele is one of those players who you do not need to say many things to. He's like a GPS: you set the instructions, and he knows what to do.”
Luciano Spalletti on Daniele De Rossi
“It is time we let these pathetic egos go. We don't need a psychologist, we are grown-up men. The ones who have a problem with other players or the manager should tell them face-to-face. That is the only psychology we need. We have to stop living on little islands. We must all go for the same goal; be united or face the consequences.”
Wesley Sneijder on the atmosphere within the Netherlands camp

“Trying to play like Barça without Barça‘s players is risky. But our philosophy is to try to get close to it. Even teams in England try to play good passing football now. Norwich and Swansea have shown that mentalities are changing everywhere.”
Laurent Blanc

“In the last five to six years I have been the most successful striker in Germany and scored the most goals in the Champions league after Messi. Why should I change my game?”
*Mario Gomez responds to criticism from Mehmet Scholl*

“I have forgiven Cassano, I did that a long time ago. But I don’t think that he is compatible with our needs to have a cohesive squad and a tranquil changing room. We are talking about a great champion, without doubt, but every now and again he discharges shrapnel that doesn’t benefit anyone.”
Riccardo Garrone on the prospect of re-signing the AC Milan forward for Sampdoria

“I won't tell you anything – even under torture!”

*Arsene Wenger on whether Olivier Giroud is joining Arsenal*

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