“The problem is that the player who has impressed me most this year isn’t even playing in the Champions League. He is playing in ‘the other cup’, and his name is Gareth Bale. He’s incomparable. He is unique, he makes things look easy, his pace is frightening. His acceleration is unbelievable because of his ability to go through the gears in such small space. Plus he is very good technically. Every time he gets the ball he can surprise you. He’s perhaps not quite on the same level as [Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo], but he’s different. I don’t think he’s far off.”
Zinedine Zidane

"Buffon looked like a pensioner. Alaba shot from 120 metres!"
Franz Beckenbauer on the Juventus goalkeeper’s conceding of a goal to the Bayern Munich left-back

“What national team? We don’t have one. There is a lack of quality. We don’t have players like we used to because the seeds weren’t planted well.”
Jairzinho on Brazil

“They made it difficult for us with their anti-football. I'd rather stop playing football and sit at home playing FIFA than playing in a team that plays football like that.”
Alejandro Bedoya of Helsingborg following their 1-0 defeat by IFK in the Swedish Cup

“I never imagined that I’d be in the company of players such as Ronaldinho Gaucho and Neymar. I’m really shy. I don’t talk much. I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Douglas Santos, the 19-year-old left-wingback from unfashionable Nautico, following his first call-up into the Brazil squad

"I would like to give him a punch. Because a player like him should play like this always."
Roberto Mancini on Samir Nasri after the attacking midfielder’s superb performance against Newcastle United

“I think that by not getting drawn into a life of crime, I’ve already won. After going through all that drama with my dad, my mum was already really happy that I went down the sporting route.”
Patrick Vieira, whose father died because of drug-related violence, to FIFA.com

“At La Masia, the Barcelona players that are then created men in life. They are given exceptional training in every way. It must be an unaffordable luxury to be footballer in Barcelona's youth system."
David Ginola

“Abel Hernandez is a really strong player who could remain in Serie B with us, but he has to visit fewer bars and find the right wife.”
Maurizio Zamparini, Palermo president

"Joey does his job without playing at a very high level. He is a good player, but is he as good as he thinks? When you talk to yourself about your talent, there is a problem.”
Chris Waddle on Joey Barton