"I'm preparing myself for a new project, I'll be back in training in January. Without a club. Ever since I stopped, I have succeeded in maintaining my shape. I want this and I know I'll have to persist. I want do this for myself, I want to show I can reach my limits so I can tell if I can play or not. I couldn't complete my career as a whole. Something's happened and pushed me away from football. I can say [my career] stopped at the half."
Former Brazil international Adriano tells Globo TV about his plans to return to football
"Fortunately everything went well and we are into the World Cup. We are calm now after achieving the main goal, that is the most important thing. All this time that we were away from the press and the fans helped us to be closer. It would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina, this group didn't deserve it. The team will change, will grow a lot and will come out stronger. It was a relief because we were in a tough spot. We got ourselves into this mess. It was not easy to play here, a lot of things happen from my mind when the 0-1 came, but the group overcame the situation very well and was quick to take the lead. There was some fear of missing the World Cup. We let pass a lot of opportunities and we had to decide our future in this game. We had to qualify, now it's time to enjoy."
Argentina’s hat-trick hero *Lionel Messi *speaking after playing an instrumental part in his country securing a Russia 2018 ticket
"After leaving Bayern in 2013, I didn't think I would coach a club again. I thought that was it. Critics say I've been out the game for four years but football's not been re-invented. I've followed very closely. Age is a number and nothing more. Some feel old at 45 but I've not changed. I still love music and sport. I feel young."
Speaking at a press conference upon his return as Bayern Munich coach, 72-year-old Jupp *Heynckes **says age is just a number *
“His attention to detail is impressive. He also manages to give you convincing explanations about things. One of his 20-minute video sessions is worth three days on the training ground. You immediately understand what it is you have to do. Over the year he improved, with his desire to win and doing everything to the best of his ability. He is one of the best, absolutely.”
Andrea Pirlo tells Gazzetta dello Sport he believes Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is one of the world’s best coaches
“I’m absolutely sure that fans will like it and I’m sure that it will be the best World Cup in the history of the World Cup. All the fans will come here and enjoy it, I’m absolutely sure. I’ve seen all the stadiums and there’s a venue better than the Luzhniki. The Spartak stadium is even better. If all the stadiums are this good then there is no way that organisationally this cannot be anything but the best World Cup we have ever seen. I think people who come here for the World Cup, will stay here because they will never want to leave. It will be a World Cup to remember.
Former Russia striker *Roman Pavlyuchenko *tells Mirror Sport he thinks Russia 2018 will be the best World Cup to date
* Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with team-mates after securing an automatic berth at Russia 2018
“It’s crazy. I saw a few videos from the game and how the fans reacted. It was a penalty in the 95th minute. I’m very happy for Mo – he is the King of Egypt!”
*Emre Can on club team-mate Mohamed Salah, whose late spot-kick helped Egypt to a World Cup return for the first time since Italy 1990, when speaking to Liverpool FC’s official website*
“When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate. Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months and, in the end, we came up short. No excuses. We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility.”* *Bruce Arena announces his resignation as USA manager after the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup
“It’s important that everybody learns that the process of football in India needs to start with four, five, and six-year-olds in all the schools. Right now, you cannot expect these boys to win against teams like Ghana or Colombia. This generation is a fantastic generation for the future, but all the things this country must do with the grassroots is needed to have results. Here in India, we’ve started the process.”
India U-17 coach Luis Norton de Matos in conversation with FIFA.com after his side bowed at the India 2017 group stages
“It's a really significant achievement and something we deserve. We’ve been striving for this for a good while now and it all worked out. We’ve been working very well together and, despite what happened in the USA [a 4-0 defeat in the penultimate matchday], we never lost faith or gave up.”
*Roman Torres after scoring the decisive goal against Costa Rica which helped Panama secure a place at their first World Cup*
”I told the group: Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, but football owed the World Cup to Messi. The nationality of the best player in the world is luckily Argentine. Football, the World Cup, could not be left without Messi. We had to play with that in mind. As a consequence of that pressure, we are stronger now, this qualification will make us stronger to face the future. We had the possibility to help him to be in another World Cup. He is the best player in the history of football and I'm very excited to be in a group near him."
*Jorge Sampaoli on Lionel Messi, speaking at a press conference after the Argentina star’s hat-trick helped secure a Russia 2018 berth *
“The man of glass has lasted the longest. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I have already considered it for a while, but then I went on. I wanted to finish this qualification. I'm 33 years old now. I'm playing at a top club in Europe and I want to concentrate on it now. It's also a good time to hand over the baton. I still feel very good and want to be at the top as long as possible. I am very proud and honoured at my six tournaments. The most beautiful moments for me were the World Cups of 2010 and 2014, in which we were really a close team and a close group. But there are many beautiful moments, fourteen years is a long time."
Netherlands winger *Arjen Robben *announces his retirement from international football after 14 years with the Oranje