"Villas-Boas was afraid of Jose Mourinho’s ghost. He has a complex and he is always thinking about the ghost of Mourinho. As Mourinho won the Uefa Cup and the Champions League [with Porto], he didn’t want to carry on because he was afraid of not winning the same. When you think of a big club, the gauge isn’t Chelsea - it’s Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United. He was scared of the comparisons with Mourinho and left."
Pinto da Costa, Porto president

"It has been proven that Guardiola is more important than the players. Where was Pique before Guardiola? Or Pedro? Busquets? Those players have become phenomenons under Guardiola's guidance. It's madness to say that Guardiola is only successful because of his players. There are many coaches like Mourinho, but nobody is like Guardiola."
Cesar Menotti

“He was a player of a lifetime. In his 20 years at the club, it is hard to pick out a bad game. He was such a great, consistent player for us. I don't think we will find another Paul Scholes.”
Sir Alex Ferguson

"How do you stop Messi? You have to slaughter him!”
Sebastian Abreu of Uruguay

“[Erik] Lamela does what he wants with the ball at his feet, so would be excellent in a circus. How he does on a playing field in Serie A is another matter.”
Luciano Moggi

"If I look at Barcelona, I see seven players who don’t know how to defend, and yet they still win.”
Antonio Conte on the Spanish champions' adventurous style

“I never imagined so many fans would turn out to meet me. This never happened to me in Argentina or Brazil. I must produce my best performances in return for this welcome from these Chinese fans.”
Dario Conca after being greeted by over 400 people at Baiyun Airport

“After City released me [in 2004] the summer I had was wretched. I was passed from pillar to post, had a trial here and there, promises of contracts which were not going to happen, and in the end I was going to join the police force. I was filling out forms for the police at my mum’s house when I got the call to go to Carlisle.”
Keiren Westwood after joining Sunderland

"Loyalty is a big part of football and it shows if you are a real man or not. If you are loyal, it means you are a real man. Cesc showed that last year and hopefully a few more players will show it this year.”
Jack Wilshere urging Fabregas and Samir Nasri to stay at Arsenal

"I saw grown men crying like babies. In the dressing room we all burst into tears. I was shocked to see tears from Xavi and Iniesta - players who have won everything in football. I cried like a child."
David Villa on Spain's South Africa 2010 Final triumph

“His career is sensational. He was an exceptional player for us. At Arsenal we will be forever grateful for Patrick’s contribution.”
Arsene Wenger following Patrick Vieira's retirement

“A great father will always want his son to be greater than him, and that is what I wish for him. He can win the UEFA Champions League and even the World Cup.”
Abedi Pele on son Andre Ayew

"Luis [Suarez] is dynamite. He's been magic for us so far. I'm itching to get out there alongside him because every time I watch him he excites me. The players that don't have the edge lack something, that sparkle or fire in their belly. You look at Zidane, Rooney - it's just the way they are. That's what makes Luis who he is. He's a fighter and despite having a lot of skill, he's a worker as well. That's what separates him from others."
Steven Gerrard