“If Balotelli is not one of the best players in the world then it will be his fault, because he has everything... I told him: ‘If you played with me ten years ago, I give to you every day one punch in your head’. I don’t speak with him every day because otherwise I would need a psychiatrist!”
Roberto Mancini on Mario Balotelli

"I would not have been able to stop him. He's a phenomenon. He thoroughly impressed me in the Champions League final against Manchester United. He was too much for [Nemanja] Vidic and [Rio] Ferdinand. He is better than Maradona in my opinion... He has much more brains. That's something that Maradona lacked."
Andreas Brehme on Lionel Messi

"Over the last ten years, nobody has won as many titles as I have. It's impossible to always win, but you make history if you manage to do so on a regular basis. So if there's a chance to win, you have to take it, and win again, and again. I have three objectives. I want to be the first coach to have won the Champions League with three different teams. And I want to win the league title in the three most difficult domestic competitions; England, Italy and Spain. And in a few years time, I want to be the first to win something with Portugal's national side."
Jose Mourinho

“Today I say goodbye to Santos' fans with a broken heart. Thank you for everything!”
Santos midfielder Ganso panics the club’s fans on Twitter - before revealing his statement to be an April fool

"I was scared of dying and even when that fear passed, I thought of stopping playing. If I return and I can see that I am doing well, then great. But if I feel that it's not working out, I will say 'thanks everybody' and I will go home. I want people to have good memories of Cassano; I don't want pity."
Antonio Cassano, who underwent heart surgery in November, ahead of returning to action

“I would just say that if I was the chairman of a Premier League club I would just close my eyes and put the figure on the cheque to get him. Because he is really the future if you structure him. The talent is there. It is obvious. [But] he is doing too much on the field. He is defending and trying also to create and make the difference up the field. He has to reduce his commitment up the field... Once he will have understood that you will see he is the best midfielder – better even than Patrick Vieira.”
Marcel Desailly on Yann M’Vila

"I try to relax when I am watching a game but it is something you cannot change, you are analysing the game. You are watching what will happen and why it is happening. I’ll be watching with my wife and I’ll say ‘goal’, then two seconds later it’s a goal. Because you can see the positions of the defenders, the winger may be free or the full-back goes late or something like that. So without thinking too much, you are just analysing."
Rafa Benitez tells FIFA.com about the experience of watching football matches at home

“I am not the best, but I used to feel invincible. Thanks God, I felt like Messi once.”
Tennis legend Roger Federer

"Directly after the match Mario sent me a compliment, but it was not a simple SMS – he filmed a video with some of his Bayern team-mates!"
Stuttgart's Christian Gentner on the reaction of his friend, Mario Gomez, to his late equaliser against Borussia Dortmund

“Javier is an almost unimaginable signing. He’s the type of player that a manager wouldn’t trade for anything, and would never sell.”
Pep Guardiola on Javier Mascherano

"I will try to convince him to come to Palermo. Life is good here. I would even be more than happy to give him my No10 jersey if he joins us."
Fabrizio Miccoli on Alessandro del Piero

“For me, Messi is quite clearly the best player ever... He’ll still be going strong when my career is over. So when we’re watching him on TV, I can tell my kids I’ve played against him. My kids just love him. They both have Barcelona shirts with his name on the back.”
John Terry on UEFA Champions League semi-final opponent Lionel Messi

"Santos are again what they used to be during Pele's time. Neymar is a phenomenon like no other. We can improve his sponsorship deals, there is no need to look for more partners. He makes a lot of money here, he has even purchased a yacht already. What else will he want? Two cars? A plane? Planes cost a lot and they are high maintenance. It is better to stay in Brazil than to go to Europe to deal with violent players and snow."
Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro states the case for Neymar staying put

"I was hoping to play as a second striker. I never thought I would end up as a main striker. We only tried it when Adebayor went. The boss didn’t buy anyone else. He was convinced I could do it but I wasn’t."
Robin van Persie, scorer of 54 goals since the start of 2011

"The teacher and the student are defined by achievements. Look at Guardiola's work and mine and you will see who is the student and who is the teacher. No, I'm not the teacher, because the things that I have done in football are not comparable with what Guardiola has done. He's a coach who has built a team which plays like no other in the last 25 years. And they not only play in a different manner, but in a better manner as well.”
Marcelo Bielsa reacts to suggestions that Pep Guardiola is a ‘pupil’ of his