“For some time I thought that Diego [Maradona] could never be surpassed, and nor could Pele, but no longer. I would now say that Lionel Messi will go down in history as the number one player of all time, the best that there ever was.”
"The Cosmos have a great past. It was created by the people of Warner. It is a mixture of football and art, a rock 'n' roll club. New York and me are a perfect match. The plan is to win trophies but also to train, build automation. The model is Barcelona under Cruyff. This is not a job but a passion.”
Eric Cantona on New York Cosmos
“It has been a sweet and sour season. To use a sandwich analogy: sweet bread at the top, sour filling, and more sweet bread at the bottom.”
Michael Essien on Chelsea’s campaign
“There is a 90 per cent chance that he will stay because he is like my wife. You can have an argument, but you stay together.”
Maurizio Zamparini on Delio Rossi’s future as Palermo coach
"People think I am the next [‘Special One’] but I am not. I am a normal coach who benefits from having top players, and one day I will not benefit from having this type of talent and I will be the [expletive] one!”
Andre Villas-Boas of Porto on comparisons to Jose Mourinho
“Ronaldo is a great player, but when the team really needs him in the big knockout games, he doesn’t do it. He goes asleep. This is the difference between Ronaldo and Messi. Both these [Champions League] semi-finals, the last World Cup and last EURO, plus the [Champions League] final in 2009 [between Manchester United and Barcelona], Ronaldo hasn’t performed. He hasn’t improved in this area.”
“My dreams are always team successes, but on a personal level I would like to win the Golden Boot or Golden Ball [FIFA Ballon d’Or]. I saw it at Kaka’s house, but I didn’t want to touch it as I’d prefer to wait for my own.”
"What impresses the most about him is his first touch, his ball control. This gives him the ability to beat a man or turn towards where the play is. He likes running from deep and can do a lot of damage. He's also their first defender, which is a nightmare for a defence. When he loses the ball he's prepared to sprint 40 metres to win it back. The amazing overhead kick he scored against Manchester City underlines all his qualities: timing, risk-taking, a good eye, and technique. He has it all. He is the archetype of the modern striker."
Samir Nasri on Wayne Rooney
"We shook hands and I said, 'sorry for what happened, now it's finished'. From man to man, there was nothing better. He responded, ‘no, don't worry, no problem."
Marco Materrazi on making peace with Zinedine Zidane
“Martin Jol’s system did have some success – the club won the Dutch Cup in his time here, after all – but it clashed with the traditional Ajax approach, which I know like the back of my hand. This is my club - I’m an example of what it can produce. My ambition is to get the team competing at the highest level again, and I hope to stick even more closely to the ‘house style’ next season.”
Frank de Boer explains to FIFA.com his mission to get Ajax to abandon the long-ball game they used under his predecessor and revert to playing entertaining, possession football.
“He is a player who has similar characteristics to Zidane. His passes, his role, he is always in contact with the ball. He really is an excellent player."
Lucho Gonzalez on Yoann Gourcuff
"I love living here [in Los Angeles, but if something special came along I would like to play in Boca Juniors. It could happen, they need a little bit of help."
"At this time of the season, me and Frank [Lampard] don't really talk. It's an unwritten agreement between us. During the season we will send each other the odd text here and there, but when it comes to the business end, if we are both involved in the title race, there is not really any dialogue."
"Guardiola would come to Inter. We spoke about it. He cannot say no to Moratti. I have known Pep a very long time and if he was to want a new adventure then Inter will be the right team for him. He would do well in Italy. Guardiola would not say no to Inter.”
Luis Suarez, former Barcelona and Inter Milan great