"Children have always been my inspiration. I always saw them in the street or in a park trying out bicycle kicks, and I told them it would be good to do it in reverse. And that day in England, I was given the ball that I had been waiting for five years!"
Rene Higuita on his legendary scorpion kick
“[Spain] demonstrated clearly that they are not only the best team in the world but also that they might well be the best team ever to play football. No one player can defeat this Spanish machine. Cristiano Ronaldo tried with Portugal, and the Spanish put a muzzle on him. [Andrea] Pirlo tried and the Spanish crowded him with four players sometimes... Spain have revolutionised football as we know it.”
"I was excited by the Brazil team of 1970... but I have to say that Spain are making me feel a similar way, but with more continuity. Brazil of 1970 were just Brazil of 1970, but Spain was European champions, then world champions, then again in Europe, and I think that they should get credit for giving continuity to a team that has a coach with a defined style which their opponents cannot figure out.”
Jorge Valdano compares La Roja favourably to the iconic Brazil side of 1970
"If I were playing, we would win, no doubt. The 1970 side set the standard by which others are measured. These comparisons will always be there, but you cannot compare them individually. But the 1970 team had better players than Spain, who have only two or three great players.”
Pele offers his view on the comparisons
"For me as FIFA president it became evident the moment what happened in South Africa in 2010 (with Frank Lampard’s ‘ghost goal’). I said to myself, 'you are the President of FIFA and you cannot afford to let something like this to happen in the next World Cup.'”
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter on the introduction of goal-line technology
"If I had to go to war, Lucio is the first player I'd take with me. He's a great signing, trust me. Lucio is a champion and a true leader. He fits in with Juve's hunger for success because he always wants to win. With this, he will drag the rest of his team-mates with him. Players like him are hard to find, and usually if you have one you keep them.”
Dunga lauds Juve new boy Lucio
"In the opera, when there’s a tragedy then the entire audience feels it. Whereas in football a defeat is only a tragedy for half the people in the stadium, while the other half are celebrating victory!"
Placido Domingo, Spanish tenor, on FIFA.com
"I'm not going to continue. I feel empty, I don't think I have any more to give to this club. I can't play at 50 per cent."
Juan Roman Riquelme announces his departure from Boca Juniors
"He is the definition of irresponsibility.”
Carlos Alberto on Ronaldino
"I would give him the Ballon d'Or. He has had a great season. He's won La Liga, the European Championship and he's the best goalkeeper in the world."
Raul Albiol on Iker Casillas
"When I say that he has the quality to be one of the best players in the world it is because I think he can become as strong as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo."
Alessandro Altobelli on Mario Balotelli
"Balotelli is just selfish. Against Germany he did two good things but in the end I saw a player who was just waiting to celebrate. Balotelli does not play for the team, only for himself. He is an egotist, who thinks the world revolves around him. Guys like Balotelli deserve lots of slaps rather than pats on the shoulder. Antonio Cassano led the team to the final."
Paolo Di Canio is not so impressed