“I named him Lionel because I’m a massive fan of the best player in history. My wife wasn’t keen, but I convinced her. I’m in love with Messi on a footballing level.”
Antonio Cassano on naming his newborn son after the No10 of his former club’s arch-rivals
"I think there are only one or two Barca and Real players who would get in Bayern’s starting XI. Which Spanish players I would like to bring to Bayern? Iniesta and Jordi Alba. However, we already have very good players at Bayern."
Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich president
"Last season Capello didn't come to see Newcastle when we had the best defensive record up to Christmas. The gaffer went to some event and Capello was there, and he said, 'You should come up and see Taylor.’ And Capello said, 'I'm all right for midfielders.' That did a lot for my confidence, it was almost back to the feeling I had when we got relegated. I would run through brick walls to play for my country.”
Steven Taylor, the Newcastle United defender, after being called up by England for the first time
"Scoring the goal in the Manchester derby to win 4-3 was a huge adrenaline rush, scoring two goals against Arsenal in the FA Cup final was a huge adrenaline rush, and my hat-trick in Germany was special. But if I had to pick one, it would be my goal against Argentina. It definitely changed my life.
"An emotion that lives with me is a sense of 'what might have been' had injuries not robbed me of my most lethal weapon – speed. Many of my highlights were early on in my career and I can only wonder what more I would have achieved had my body been able to withstand the demands that I was making of it. I was almost too quick."
Michael Owen, the former England striker on announcing his retirement from the game
“I know there is a Jose Mourinho effect on the young Portuguese. Twenty years ago the youngsters wanted to be players, not coaches, but now there are a lot of young people who dream about being a coach.”
Jose Mourinho, on his influence in his home country
"I have no problems with the fans, I have no relationship with them and I don't understand their chants in Russian, nor do I read the newspapers. The biggest difficulty is the cold. I live in the middle of Saint Petersburg. It's a beautiful city and I like to visit all the attractions with the whole family."
Hulk, the Brazil and Zenit St Petersburg forward
“Ibra is a complicated figure. He always asks for the ball and insults a lot. He is sometimes a bit arrogant and complains. One thing's for sure, though. Whenever he shouts something, you always understand what he wants, regardless of the language."
Lucas Moura, of Paris Saint-Germain on Zlatan Ibrahimovic
"He is a very good coach, but he has never played the game himself. He misses something and that shows. Those of us who have played notice certain details.”
Johan Cruyff on Jose Mourinho