"This was a great player. He is pre-determined to not do things like others and what I like is that he has been given the means to become a coach. His first club is Real Madrid, it's beautiful. As I said, it's extraordinary and I wish him success."
Laurent Blanc on Zinedine Zidane’s appointment as Real Madrid coach

"He said: 'No, if you (leave) I won't see you any more. Your area's difficult for you guys and you don't have much help – they'll have to put an extra bed here. You'll stay here and we'll share'.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s room-mate at Sporting Lisbon, Jose Semedo, explains how the three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner helped keep his close friend in the academy

“When I saw him at the airport, I said to myself: ‘This kid’s too small to play football.’ I thought they’d tricked me.”
Horacio Gaggiolithe man who signed Lionel Messi, tells the story of when he first met the Argentinian

“He’s the only person I know who shaves right before the game and ends it with a full beard.”
Rapid Vienna legend Peter Schottel, paying tribute to his then team-mate Trifon ‘Wolfman’ Ivanov, the hirsute Bulgarian cult hero – who died in February aged just 50

"I have another three months here and, then, what will happen? Big things will happen."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic speaking to the English press in the mixed zone after Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League win over Chelsea. Asked whether that meant a move to England, Ibrahimovic replied: "Let's just say I am in good shape." Ibrahimovic eventually signed for Manchester United in the summer

"I know what it means to love football and follow a team. Football without the fans is nothing. We need the players and we need the fans, and I think these two elements have been neglected for too long. Now it’s time to change this. It’s time to bring them in and involve them in all that we do."
FIFA President Gianni Infantino in his first interview with FIFA.com

"I tell them, 'Dilly ding, dilly dong!' From the beginning when something was wrong, I said, 'Hey, dilly ding, dilly dong! Wake up!' And during all the training sessions sometimes I say, 'Dilly ding, dilly dong' and then for Christmas day, I brought all the players and staff, everybody, a little bell just to joke. It was a funny thing."
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri gives some insight into one of his motivational techniques

“For me it's like Messi is not human but Cristiano is the best of the humans.”
Gerard Pique on the difference between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

"It remains a thorn deep in my heart still today. The pain of this loss is more poignant even than that brought about by failed love."
Ma Li reflects on being eliminated from the FIFA Women’s World Cup China PR 1991™ in the quarter-finals to Sweden

"I could kiss him. I could really kiss his feet.”
Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs on Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard's equalising goal against Tottenham Hotspur which sealed the English Premier League title for the Foxes

“I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. It’s been a long two or three weeks (since the previous home game) and the tear ducts are just about empty. But I tell you what, that chant the supporters gave me was something that will live with me for the rest of my life. It’s been a pleasure. I’ll always bleed blue. I love this club. It's always hard to say goodbye to something that's been such a big part of your life for such a long time.”
Melbourne Victory’s Archie Thompson after playing his final home game for the club 

“Keshi was a superhero. His death is a big loss to Nigeria as a nation, not only to Nigeria football.”
Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick paid tribute to Stephen Keshi, after his tragic and sudden passing in June at the age of 54

“That’s hard to explain. I started crying when Lucas Vazquez calmly scored his kick with extreme confidence. I got emotional and I felt we were not going to lose. It all started when Sergio [Ramos] told us we were going to use the goal in front of our fans for the shoot-out.”
Real Madrid defender
Pepe tried to explain his emotional response to his club’s UEFA Champions League success

“My voice is gone, but that doesn't matter, we have qualified! Arnór Ingvi Traustason! Just scored! Iceland two, Austria one! What a moment! What a moment! What! The referee has called the game, and I have never, I have never felt this good! Arnór Ingvi Traustason guarantees us the first win in the Euros!”
Gudmundur Benediktsson, Iceland’s commentator broadcasting live as Iceland beat Austria in their final group stage match at UEFA EURO 2016 

"Don't be afraid to have dreams. Four years ago I was as far away from this as you could imagine. I'm enjoying it, it's great and we deserve it. If you work hard enough and you're not afraid to dream then you're not afraid to fail. I'm not afraid to fail. Everybody fails. I have had more failures than I've had success."
Wales manager 
Chris Coleman reacted to his side's quarter-final victory over Belgium to secure the nation's first berth to the semi-finals a major international tournament

"I didn’t expect that emotion. Thank you all for coming here. I’m feeling so thankful and we’ll see each other in the future again."
A tearful
Bastian Schweinsteiger bid an emotional farewell to the German national team in a 2-0 win over Finland in a friendly

"I’ll be watching now as a fan. I said a few words to the players after the game and told them: ‘Never underestimate putting on that green jersey because it’s the best feeling in the world.’ It has been for me for 18 years. We’re very fortunate that we have a group of players in there who are desperate to play for their country and turn up when given the nod. I think the future is certainly bright."
Robbie Keane speaks with the Press Association following his last match for the Republic of Ireland national team, where he scored in a 4-0 friendly win over Oman

“There are new anecdotes, almost every day — lots of stories I did not know. People always say how sorry they are, what he meant to them. I have been to various countries these last few months, and you see men who are 65, 70, and they are emotional. They had moments when my father touched them, in whatever way, and they want to talk about it.”
Jordi Cruyff speaks with The New York Times about his father, the late Johan Cruyff

"I have so many good memories of our time together as team-mates and champions at Santos FC, the Brazil national team and New York Cosmos. We had a winning partnership, and even after football we remained very close. I send my sincere condolences to his family and may his soul Rest in Peace. Dear God, please take care of our 'Capitao'."
Pele leads the tributes for former Brazil captain and legend Carlos Alberto, who tragically passed away this week, on his Facebook page

"You never know. I want to stay here and finish here. It is not my last contract, I want to keep going until I'm 41, but now the most important thing is this special moment that makes me happy and my family too.”
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo talks about his hopes for the future on the club's official website, after renewing his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2021

"It was emotional. I want to thank the king, and I want to thank the fans and media for getting behind us all the way. I am just disappointed we could not get the three points, but this one point can bring happiness to the Thai people."
Thailand coach Kiatsuk Senamuang talks to the New York Times about his team's pride in a 2-2 draw with Australia in Russia 2018 qualifying, in the midst of mourning the death of the country's King Bhumibol Adulyadej

"For our part, and forever, Chapecoense are champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana."
Colombian side Atletico Nacional released a statement following the tragic air crash that took the lives of many players and staff from Brazilian club Chapecoense

"Following this [the letter], the council took the decision to appoint Chapecoense as champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2016 with all sporting and economic privileges it entails."
CONMEBOL declares Chapecoense champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2016 in a statement released on Monday, following the Colombian air tragedy that killed 71 people, including most of the Brazilian club team