“I’ll tell you one thing, man: I work my backside off and I’m working my backside off. Come and watch us in training – look what I am doing. I don’t want to relegate HSV. I have some good games and, sometimes, I have a bad game too. I’m just trying to work my backside off, but I’m also just a human being, you know?”
Lewis Holtby’s impassioned response to criticism after going to confront the Hamburg supporters following their loss to Wolfsburg

“I managed to find a ticket to Barcelona, but I had no money to pay for it. My big brother lent me it, around 70 dollars. It was a long flight, I got lost, and they detained me at customs. I was 16 and I didn’t have any address – I didn’t have anything! I’d come with a white shirt and my nose had started bleeding. My girlfriend Sofia was waiting for me in the airport, but it had been two hours since I’d arrived and I still hadn’t come out. I was being detained there and I didn’t know why. They told me it was because I didn’t have address for where I was going to stay or anything else. I told them I’d come to visit my girlfriend, that she was living here. In the plane I’d seen mountains and beaches, so I said I’d come to visit the mountains and beaches. They opened my bag and found a note from Sofia’s aunt showing the address and a telephone number. I was so lucky! I finally got out. Sofia had spent the last three hours running around all the terminals, desperately looking for me, until I came out with my white blood-stained t-shirt!”
Luis Suarez on his incredible love story with now-wife Sofia Balbi – she moved to Catalonia in 2003, one year after they met

“If he was from Iceland or the North Pole, I’d say, ‘Ok, he’s still wearing his ski boots’. But no, he simply has to stop the ball.”
Franz Beckenbauer on Dante’s defending in the run-up to Ricardo Quaresma’s second goal

"When I was in my office after the [title-winning] game, Liam Gallagher from Oasis came in. He's a big fan of City and he planted a big kiss on my mouth – I didn't have time to react!"
Roberto Mancini on an incident after he led Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2012

“Media claiming Hector Bellerin can run 4.42 over 40m. Absolutely no way. Are these journalists complete morons!? I will put £30,000 on the line to race Hector Bellerin & Theo Walcott – any sprint distance, any time, any place, anywhere. The race will be over very quick. So if they put their money down I will gladly show everyone they can not sprint as fast as the media claim.”
Richard Kilty, the world indoor sprint champion

“You can’t expect Inzaghi to make fine wine out of turnips.”
Giovanni Trapattoni on the AC Milan coach and his troops

“It was a little funny because Eric does so many flips, and I can’t do that. Me and Vincent [Nogueira] were trying to celebrate the goal with him, and I could do nothing more than a nice somersault like this – it’s my only gift as a gymnastic guy! I just wanted to have a laugh, give people a laugh, make a little circus with me and Eric. I’ll work on my somersault more, but it was a pretty good one, I was pretty happy with it.”
Sebastien Le Toux on his hilarious imitation of Philadelphia Union team-mate Eric Ayuk’s celebration against New York City FC – after the Cameroonian did Olympic gymnast-esque routine, the quirky Frenchman did the polar opposite

“He is the last man on the pitch when Suarez picks up the ball and starts running at him. He realises he is the last man, and the very last thing you should do when you’re the last man is jump in. You bide time for your team to get around you. Instead he does what an eight-year-old who hasn’t been coached does. He is a liability at the back and he always has been. He’s a footballer who likes to play in the playground when there is no shape to the game.”
Glenn Hoddle on David Luiz after his performance versus Barcelona

“The best player in the world is Javier Pastore. He has something special, something that always surprises you. No special goals, no, but fantastic passes. He is the most creative player in the world. I love this kind of player."
Eric Cantona

“It was a boring game? If you want to have fun, you should go to the circus. I'm only interested in reaching the semi-finals.”
Massimiliano Allegri on Juventus’s 1-0 win over Monaco

“There are some weeds in the garden, and you've got to get them out of the changing room pretty quick. You cannot carry passengers. When the balance tips to a point when going forward [Yaya Toure] isn't quite as effective as he once was, you've got to do something different because the defensive side is poor. He cannot play in a two in midfield against an opposition of any quality. There are too many examples, too much evidence when watching him where he cannot do his job – simple as that. As a central midfield player in the big matches he just cannot do it.”
Gary Neville on Yaya Toure