“He’s undisputably the best player in the world, and he’s going to win the [FIFA] Ballon d’Or several more times. A player like him only comes around once every 50 years. Leo is now even better than Maradona was.”
Xavi on Lionel Messi to FIFA.com

“In the future, I want everyone to be saying Nani is one of the best players in the world. That is my ambition. Maybe some people are saying it now.”

“A problem in my heart compels me to retire, but my heart still beats for Real Madrid. I have infinite gratitude to the club for giving me this coaching role, and to the fans that supported me and the doctors that treated me. I hope that football will remain part of my life for a long time.”
Ruben De La Red

“In 2002 the coaching and medical staff had a specific plan for Ronaldo, and we set a limit on the number of minutes he could play in each game. In the opening match with Turkey we were drawing 1-1, but we’d reached the limit and so I took him off. We had a plan and we had to stick to it.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari to FIFA.com

“We would have been happier to see him on the pitch. Going on the results of recent derbies, his absence is an advantage for Roma.”
Tommaso Rocchi of Lazio on Francesco Totti’s suspension for Sunday’s Rome derby

"Bale was unstoppable and was playing against Maicon, rated by many as the best [right-back] in the world. It's like you're a boxer knocking everybody out, but it only counts when you do it against the top people. Well, he has done it against the champion. He gave him to most torrid time you would ever wish to see.”
Harry Redknapp on Gareth Bale’s performance against Inter Milan

"The injury and watching the World Cup from home were the two hardest moments of my career. I miss playing with the ball, it is what keeps me sane. Saturday is going to be very special. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach intensifying as it gets closer, but that’s a good thing.”
Juan Roman Riquelme on his impending return to action

"Several big clubs wanted to sign me, but I made a choice that will allow me to develop. The people in Nigeria have very high expectations of me. I'm a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo. We have the same style of play. I'm also fast, technically strong and eager to score.”
Ahmed Musa, 18, after joining VVV

“If I see a team-mate in a better position, I pass him the ball. I realise afterwards I’ve had the chance to score myself, but that’s the way I am. I may not be scoring many goals but I think I’m doing a good job for the team.”
Victor Casadesus of Mallorca

“Ronaldo was a force of nature who could go out and win games on his own. I was never able to stop him in training.”
Javier Zanetti to FIFA.com on his former Inter team-mate

“I said I always wanted to walk away with a championship. It didn’t happen. Life goes on. I wish everyone here all the best.”
Juan Pablo Angel after his final appearance for New York Red Bulls in their play-off elimination by San Jose Earthquakes

“Mesut is a fantastic player, he has an extraordinary talent. I hope and believe that he will win this title once.”
Cristiano Ronaldo backs Mesut Ozil to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or in the future

“I am living out a dream, one of my biggest goals in life. When you start a new project, you have to take it step by step. But in 2014 I want to win what we all desire: the last game of the World Cup."
Sergio Batista after being made permanent Argentina coach

“The ball just isn't falling for me at the moment. But it doesn’t matter who scores the goals, Ajax winning is the most important thing and if they do, I’m happy.”
Luis Suarez

“Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar."
Rafa Benitez suggests, in curious fashion, that Roy Hodgson is not seeing things clearly at Liverpool

 “The idea was to play a few seasons and then return, but we never imagined the impact we would have. It’s said that our success paved the way for more foreign players to come to England, and there is some truth in that.”
Ossie Ardiles to FIFA.com on he impact he and Ricardo Villa had following their move to Tottenham in 1978

“It is 71 days until the next derby at our place, not that we are counting."
Steve Bruce following his Sunderland team’s 5-1 loss to Newcastle

“Every time I have gone to a club I’ve done better than my predecessor. And every time I’ve left my successor has done worse.”
Claudio Ranieri defends his position in the Roma hot-seat

“After just one training session you could see that he was something special. Son is the future. With him, HSV will have a lot of success. Even at the age of 18 he is making a significant impact in the Bundesliga.”
Ruud van Nistelrooy on Hamburg team-mate Son Heung Min

"Don't forget that when Thierry Henry came here, he was a winger. When I played him as a central striker he said to me, 'but I can't score goals’. But I knew he could. Thierry came here at 23 and Theo is 21. Give two more years to Theo and imagine what he will be. Theo can be a prolific goalscorer. Once he is a yard in front of the defender, no-one can catch him. He is very, very close to playing that striker role.”
Arsene Wenger

“They are all great clubs but I like Barcelona most for their style of play. They are the best and biggest for sure. Joining Barcelona? Oh God. It would be a dream to play with Lionel Messi at Barcelona.”
Javier Pastore on whether he would prefer Inter Milan, Barcelona or Real Madrid

“Dealing with Maradona was very difficult, but we can say with pride that he was worth it. Ottavio Bianchi, the coach of the first Scudetto-winning team, wanted a zero-tolerance policy. I was more accommodating and thought we had to turn a blind eye.”
Corrado Ferlaino, Napoli’s president during El Pelusa’s time at the club

"I want to be the best player in the world. That is my aim and I am determined to make it happen.”
Mario Balotelli