“You heard people complaining about how much [South Africa 2010] cost, for example the stadiums that we built. But how much would you pay for the kind of spirit that pervaded our country? It was a fantastic thing. No-one could have predicted that South Africans would feel so good about themselves. It was reminiscent of the time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison or when we won the Rugby World Cup. You can’t put a monetary value on it. So many South Africans of so many different races walked tall with their heads held high. We were showing off our flags and we even gave the world the vuvuzela!
Archbishop Desmond Tutu to FIFA.com

“Silvio Berlusconi said that Cassano is the most talented Italian player. He’s either wrong or he doesn’t know Balotelli.”
Mario Balotelli

“Udinese play very well with a 3-5-2 formation and I told my coach at the time to use it. I was taken for a fool, though. It’s impossible to talk to coaches sometimes. They think they invented football.”
Maurizio Zamparini, Palermo president

“Coaches are like husbands – always the last to know.”
Claudio Ranieri

“Congratulations to Real Madrid for paying tribute to [Eric] Abidal. There’s so much more to football than just rivalry.”
Ronaldo, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, on Twitter

“You might end up being embarrassed when you’re dealing with a Zidane or a Rivaldo. It’s better to let them control the ball, look around and pass it to someone else.”
Rivaldo to FIFA.com

“If I was the boss, I’d have sacked myself a few times by now.”
during his tenure at AC Milan

“Nobody’s achieved what Pele has. He was a world champion at the age of 17, won three World Cups, and scored more than 1,208 goals. No-one else has done that up to now. That’s why, to my mind, Pele is the best.”

“The king of Rome is not dead. He’s alive and well.”
Francesco Totti

“I really want to try soccer after I retire, because I’ve watched football over the years and I think I could be a good contender. I’m really looking forward to it and yes, I definitely think I’m good enough to play for Manchester United. I’m good enough because I’m quick, I have a little skill. I have to refine it a little bit, but I should be good enough.”
Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter

“Maradona? I wouldn’t give him a lift even if it were raining. As for Romario, he even counts the goals he scored on the beach.”

“I’ve been a national team member for 18 years, so this has been a long, long wait. I’ve been through the difficult times for women’s football in Japan, so I really feel relieved. It doesn’t feel like reality.”
Homare Sawa after Japan won Germany 2011

“Just because you have talent or even genius, it doesn’t mean to say that you’ll have a great team, which is just as well, because otherwise Brazil would have won ten World Cups instead of five.”
Laurent Blanc to FIFA.com

“There are 1.3 billion people in this country, so there’s got to be some good footballers somewhere. And we’re going to find them.”
Jose Antonio Camacho after being appointed China PR coach

“The fans whistle me because I’m good-looking, rich and a great footballer. They’re jealous. I don’t have any other explanation.”
Cristiano Ronaldo

“He spends his days off picking mushrooms in the country, so he can’t be a bad lad.”
Pep Guardiola on Xavi

“The players see themselves as icons and they see another football icon in me. I’m just like them, and that makes it easy to handle the dressing room.”
Jose Mourinho

“I don’t play football because I want to be the best in the world. I don’t care whether I am or not. I play football because it’s my passion, because I’m in the best team in the world and because winning titles makes me happy. I don’t want to prove anything to anyone. I play for a different reason – to be happy.”

“Guardiola was so happy with [Lionel] Messi, he didn't even bother looking at me. I told him I was a Ferrari and that he was driving me like a Fiat. I wasn’t part of his plans after that.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“I don’t care where I play. I’m just happy to be on the pitch, I’ll play anywhere. Well, probably not right-back, no.”
Wayne Rooney

“My philosophy is that the solution arises before the problem. What I mean is that you can always look for solutions before problems even come up. That’s what we do on a day-to-day basis.”
Pep Guardiola to FIFA.com