"You cannot compare anyone to Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo is a great human footballer, but Messi is a Martian. He can run even faster with the ball than he can without it. It's as if he's playing another sport. It's almost impossible to do the things he does at that speed."
"I got carried away by fame and success. I thought I could do anything. I crossed the line. I was making R$ 800 (€320) at Botafogo and I went to Atletico Mineiro to make R$ 7,800 (€3,100). I thought I was rich. I would give my parents R$ 1,000 [€397] and spend the rest partying. When I went to Madrid, success got to me even more. I wanted to own everything. For example, I would go to a bar and I would tell the bouncer to open the place because I would drink everything that was there. There was one time where I peed in the lobby of the best hotel of my town, at three in the morning, while the receptionist was doing my check-in."
Cicinho on going off the rails
"It was wrong. It does not matter who takes the free-kick or gets the assist. At the end of the game, we all want the three points. This is not FC Robben or FC Ribery. This is FC Bayern. We have to put all of our egos together to be successful as a team."
Franck Ribery on his dressing-room bust-up with Arjen Robben last season
"For me, the Ballon d'Or recipient must be a player that won something significant. Ronaldo helped [Real Madrid] win in something big, and I do not think in the history of the Ballon d'Or, someone won it without winning something big. Without winning the Champions League, without winning the Spanish league, how can Messi win the Ballon d'Or?"
"Once the Premier League was the most beautiful in the world, but I think the football has now become second-rate. It's more fun to play in Italy where every game is a fight, rather than a tournament where the top few teams get an easy 30 points."
"He is good, but not very good."
Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich’s president, on Mario Gomez
"I heard and read all the time that Guardiola really rated me. Everybody thought we had a great relationship, because he was always very positive about me. However, I never really played much under Pep. I did bring this up with him when we met face-to-face. I told him that I didn't appreciate it that he always praised me, but never started a match with me."
"Zlatan is a player of such high quality. He is one of the best strikers in the world. He has fantastic athletic strength in addition to extraordinary technical ability. He is the type of player who is almost perfect, and he will bring a lot to PSG."
Salvatore Sirigu on Zlatan Ibrahimovic
"I arrived there in the summer, but three or four months later a really fierce winter took hold, with snow and temperatures of around -10°C. That alone is tough for a Brazilian, then you had the language barrier. It all makes you want to jump on the first plane home but, as I’d already been to Spain without success, I was really determined to overcome those difficulties."
* Ze Roberto to FIFA.com on the difficulties of adapting to life at Bayer Leverkusen*
"Everybody thought no team would play the kind of football that Brazil produced in the 1970 World Cup. But Spain are doing something special and it would take another great team to end their domination. There is no doubt that Barcelona are a great team and are ambassadors of the beautiful game. But we retained the European Cup, which even the current Barça side couldn’t do."
"In dribbling terms, he reminds me of Messi. Messi is the best in the world, but Insigne has the possibility of tracing the career of the Barcelona phenomenon."
Goran Pandev on Lorenzo Insigne
"I was on holiday and was staying in a hotel and there were quite a few footballers. The staff of the hotel usually play against the visitors, so I was by the pool and I heard they were playing football. Then I went across and saw other footballers playing and I told my friends and (girlfriend) Shauna, ‘I’m sorry, but I am going to play’. I just went in through the groove and played for about 20 to 25 minutes. It was great, I enjoyed it. So it was just to get back into the groove and to get back into momentum, it was just great but I just hope to God that I can get in there myself, with the 11 players on the pitch and to play would be fantastic."
Fabrice Muamba, who almost died a couple of months earlier, on enjoying an impromptu kickabout in Dubai in May
"The locker room was out of control in the last two or three months, with things I’d never seen in 13 years with the Rossoneri. The rules were no longer respected and the older players, who were irritated, no longer had the strength or the willpower to tell their team-mates off. When we had training at 9.30am, many arrived just ten minutes beforehand and nobody would say anything. I’d arrive 45 minutes early in order to do some exercises, get a massage or even just to relax with a cup of coffee. That’s the sporting culture you get after years of experience. Or, when we had lunch at 13.00, some turned up 15 minutes late. There was no respect for the rules. If in a group of 25 players the rules are not respected, then it’s immediately chaos. These are things that sap energy from the older players too, as they get irritated at wasting time criticising the others. The thing that really annoyed me was that nobody said anything. I no longer felt like Rino Gattuso in that locker room, so I realised it was time to leave."
* Gennaro Gattuso on why he left AC Milan*