World Football

The Week in Quotes

(FIFA.com)
Nolito of Manchester City celebrates scoring the equalising goal
© Getty Images

“If we speak about the best, it is Leo Messi. Neymar is on the way to be the next best. Barça will do the best thing to sign a new contract with him and maybe they can put a buyout clause as high as possible because he will be the next Messi, for sure. He's scored [nearly] 300 goals and he's only 24. He's really special."
Barcelona and Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic tells The Times that he thinks Neymar will be the 'next Messi'

"Ibrahimovic is like a big brother. He has a winning mentality, a great player. He's very important in Manchester, with him we can reach our objectives."
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba speaks with French television station TF1 about team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“No words can express my feelings at winning this tournament. I had great trust in my players and I know that they picked up wonderful experience over the course of this competition. Japan's technical level is higher than ours, I admit that, and they missed some golden opportunities. But they have some weaknesses too and we were able to capitalise on those. Our team play and mental strength was what helped us win this tournament.”
A delighted Korea DPR coach Sin Jong-Bok was full of praise for his players after they secured the Far East nation an unprecedented second FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup title in Jordan on Friday

"Luis Enrique appeared at a moment in my career where it was either take a step forward or a step back. I was at Barcelona B with him, then Celta. He bet very, very heavily on me and supported me. He made me see football differently, convincing me I could really make it. I [had] always played carrying extra kilos. He made me see that it was fundamental to lose weight, ten kilos, to make the breakthrough. He was pesado [insistent], for my own good. It was hard, but there’s been a massive change. Brutal. He was on at me every day; he’s been fundamental for my career. The cakes, the bread, the Coke: it’s all good but for my profession, it was shit. I’d train then eat: train, eat, train, eat. I was a fish biting its own tail. Eventually, you realise: an elite player has to be fino [slim].”
Manchester City and Spain forward Nolito speaks with The Guardian about Barcelona coach Luis Enrique's influence earlier in his career ahead of City's visit to the Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League

“The result is always the coach's responsibility. The player who missed the penalty is crying, but these things happen, and I definitely take responsibility.”
Japan coach *Naoki Kusunose
speaks to reporters after seeing his side lose on penalties to Korea DPR in the Jordan 2016 final
*

"Results are not good at the moment, but we are at the beginning of a project. We started from nothing and you need time to get to know a team. I feel like I'm in Formula One, with the haste of having to improve in a short time. It's just a matter of time until results start coming. It's normal when you are starting a project and the club is aware of that. I repeat, in Formula One you can race when the car is ready. I've said many times that a coach of a big club like Inter, Ajax or Barcelona always has a lot of pressure on him when the results are not there. I think I'm doing a good job for the team, though. When you have not won a trophy for four or five years it is normal that the coach can come under scrutiny."
Frank de Boer uses a motorsport metaphor to describe the pressure of coaching a high-profile club like Italian giants Internazionale

"All I had been thinking about was lifting the World Cup trophy, about leading my team-mates up as captain to do that. The Golden Ball was never my dream and, beyond that, I really didn't expect to win it.”
An emotional Fuka Nagano admitting she was not surprised to be named as adidas Golden Ball winner at Jordan 2016 while the Japan captain fought through the tears after seeing her side fall on penalties to Korea DPR in the final

“She got in touch, we chatted, and she told me she wanted to support me so that I could have a better future. She’s Venezuelan like me, and as there’s not a lot of support for women’s football in Venezuela, she was keen to help me out and get involved.”
Venezuela's U-17 midfielder Dayana Rodriguez speaks about the support she has received from compatriot Meche Diaz Albertini at Jordan 2016, who lives in the United States

“I don’t think he needs convincing. He wants to stay here. If you have a good bank, call me. It’s not just money. Arsenal can win titles, of course. But that’s what we have to show. We are in a league where Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, everybody, fights and you cannot guarantee that to anybody.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is convinced the club's star midfielder Mesut Ozil will extend his contract with the North London club

“Return to Barcelona? To do what, work as a ball boy? I really don't see him there either as president or on the bench. His time with Barca has come and gone, I don't think he would do well in going back. At the very least, I think we can rule out him coming back as coach.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola's father Valenti tells Cadena Ser radio that he believes his son won't manage Barcelona again

“This will be my last contract here, I can tell you that. I hope I am remembered as a good person, and to be able to go back to Barcelona in 15 years and say hello to the fans, to have the doors open at a place I have been for so long. The titles are in the trophy case, but when this finishes it is the person who remains. I am delighted to stay in this house that has been my home for the last six years. It is the club at which I have spent the most time and that makes me happy, it is obviously a cause for great pride. It is not easy to stay so long in such a competitive, demanding club, my goal for the future is to maintain their trust.”
Barcelona's Javier Mascherano reveals to the club's official television channel that his latest three-year contract extension agreed this week will be his last term with the Spanish giants

"It’s like after [university] when you go to do a master's [degree]. Italy is like that for defenders."
Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso reveals to The Mirror the steep learning curve he was on during his spell with Italian club Fiorentina

“He does everything he can, he loves success and goes over dead bodies. He wins his games at half-time. His speeches are amazing! I still have them in my ears. Of course, every player wants to win, but Mourinho embodies the victory. Of course, tactics are important, of course, training is important, but humanity has lost something in this business, so I like guys such as Mourinho and Klopp.”
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin praises Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's mentality in an interview with German publication Socrates

"I would like to see Coutinho at Real Madrid, the Liverpool player.”
Former Brazil and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo tells Spanish radio station Onda Cero that he would like to see a certain Liverpool playmaker make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu

"Motivation is everything. I was close to quitting Spain, quitting Barca, and just walking away. You have enough money to live the rest of your life. After the 2014 World Cup, I didn't have any passion. I spoke with several coaches and decided to keep going. Maybe it was because I won everything at a young age. Then they spoke about Luis Enrique coming, bringing in some fresh air, trying to get back as one of the best teams in the world. I wanted to be a part of it, and now I'm at the peak of my career, having fun."
Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique tells Sport he was close to quitting football after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

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