“I met you almost six years ago. You were the captain and the symbol of the team and I was a youngster eager to conquer the world. From the first day we had a great relationship, both on and off the pitch. At your side, I felt protected, I knew that if I failed one day, you would be there to save me. You are my guardian angel. I want you to know that I will miss our chats in the dressing-room, your advice and, above all, your scolding on the pitch. You are unique and one of a kind. I have to laugh when they talk about signing the new Puyol - they can keep on looking, because they never will find him."
Gerard Pique’s open letter to departing Barcelona captain Carles Puyol
“The only thing that can stop Juve is a tank.”
Clarence Seedorf on Juventus
"I wish you good luck in the World Cup. You'll need it!"
Denmark coach Morten Olsen departs England with a parting quip for the nation’s journalists
"I think Varane is the best central defender in the world. He is still young, but I think he's the best."
Jose Mourinho on Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane
"Lots of times at Real Madrid, the players would be queuing in front of the mirror before the game while the referee waited for them in the tunnel.”
Mourinho is less complimentary about some of Varane’s Merengues team-mates
“If I think back to a couple of years ago, the country lacked a heart and soul. There was hardly any atmosphere in the stadiums – or anywhere else in the country, for that matter – when we were playing. Now we’ve awoken the entire nation through our football. We’re a small country, but we’ve got a lot of potential.”
Daniel van Buyten on Belgium in an interview with FIFA.com
“I'm tired [of talking] about Yaya. You should know now [how good he is]. If he wasn't African everyone will say he's the best midfielder in the world. He can do everything, he can score goals, he can defend, he can attack. When he gets the ball he is so powerful. Of course it counts against him being from Ivory Coast. If he was Argentinian or Brazilian everyone would be talking about him. Tell me one defensive midfielder who can go forward like him who can score 16 or 17 goals in a season. Tell me one and then we can talk.”
Samir Nasri on Yaya Toure
"I came here with a niggling injury and Susic knew that, and he still didn't substitute me either at half-time, which was the plan, or after the break when I asked to be replaced. I don't know why. I wish to thank all fans who support me but the others [who jeered] should be ashamed because I am a born winner and always played my heart out for the national team."
An angry Edin Dzeko on coach Safet Susic and the Bosnia-Herzegovina fans
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 6, 2014
"Sergio Ramos and I are almost like brothers now."
Diego Costa on the overcoming of the Spain duo’s on-field spat
"What Gareth does on the pitch is extraordinary. Just witnessing what he did in this match was worth the entrance fee for the fans who came here and saw something very special. Gareth was so good I've even asked him afterwards for a photograph and his autograph myself! I played with Ryan Giggs, of course, and I always said he was the finest player I appeared with but I honestly do think Bale will be even better in time. He's more dynamic, direct and powerful than even Ryan was and that's really saying something.”
Wales manager Chris Coleman on Gareth Bale
"I am proud that he can wear the French jersey for the first time. He wanted it and he deserves it. It is not only because he is called Zidane but [because] he does beautiful things on the pitch. In any case, he is delighted to be picked and I am as proud as my dad was with my first selection."
Zinedine Zidane on son Enzo’s selection for the France U-19 team
"The image that people have about me is that I'm all about partying, that I’m indifferent to football, but that's as far from reality as could possibly be. I have, for example, talked to clubs who say they have heard stories about me, then I tell them that none of them are true. People think I’m a psychopath.”