The Week in Quotes
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“I love syrup. You know what is syrup? Strawberry syrup. Every day. I need [it]. Always when I drink water, I put syrup in it. It’s something I can’t live without. It’s like an addiction, I swear. Every time my family come over, the first thing I ask them is to bring me syrup.”
Demba Ba of Newcastle United, the Premier League’s 15-goal second-top scorer, on the secret of his success

“The best player ever is without any doubt Pele. After that you have Alfredo [Di Stefano], [Johan] Cruyff, and Diego [Maradona]. In those times, Messi would have been a substitute rather than a star. All of these Barcelona players who say they play for the best team in the world would have been bench-warmers in the times of Maradona and Cruyff."
Hugo Gatti

“I told him, ‘It’s always you, Mario. Whenever there is trouble, you are inside it’. He said, ‘Mister, it is not my fault’. I said, ‘No, I suppose it is my fault!’ He is a strange man... a good man, a kind man, but I do not understand him. It feels as if I need my own special translator just for Mario. He is an incredible player but he does not understand what he could achieve. Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, these are the players whose talent is up there with Mario’s, but they are clever, they know the career is short and it is no use waiting until you are 40 before you realise how good you were. I just hope Mario can understand how much he will improve when he becomes a man.”
Roberto Mancini on Mario Balotelli

Coco is an absolute beast, a monster! We were at a [Racing Club] dinner and he invited me to sit at his table. I was embarassed - he is such a personality! He had to ask me again before I sat down!”
Giovanni Moreno on his new coach, Alfio Basile

“We have developed a good mix of passing and running, ball-winning, and fast counter-attacks. We are not like Barcelona in keeping possession for very long. I tell my team, ‘If we win the ball, I want to see it in the goal in eight seconds’. That's my philosophy.”
Joachim Low, Germany coach

“We’ll win the game 1-0. Fabrizio Miccoli will decide the outcome with a goal in the 80th minute.”
Maurizio Zamparini, Palmero’s president, on their upcoming game against Napoli

“I’m the goalkeeper who has played more matches for Palmeiras. But I genuinely urged Marcos to surpass my landmark. He deserved it. He used to call me professor, but he no longer needs to. Now it’s him who will be called professor, because he’s given a lesson in goalkeeping for many years.”
Emerson Leao following the retirement of Marcos

“They're both terrific players, no question about that. But I regard myself as a little bit different, especially in physical terms. I do win a few balls in the air, simply due to my physical stature. And I also come up with different solutions compared to them.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger on comparisons between himself and Xavi and Andres Iniesta

"Hazard is different class. He's still only 21 and has definitely got another few gears to go up. He's got the same attitude as Rooney at that age - he's fearless. He knows how good he is, and that's a positive thing. All the top players have got that belief and a bit of presence and arrogance, and he's like that. He's a bit like Messi. There's only one Messi and I don't want to put pressure on the kid, but he's like him - short, squat, powerful legs, great touch, he can finish. He’s got everything."
Joe Cole on Eden Hazard

“I will never digest that in all my life. It was inconceivable to lose that match. Everyone was waiting, but we [messed] ourselves. I had the chance to win the Coupe de France with Auxerre [in 2005], but didn’t. Perhaps I am the black cat!”
Bacary Sagna on Arsenal’s defeat by Birmingham City in last season’s League Cup final

“In the afternoon, when it was almost dark, my friends wanted to play ball and always needed one player to make up the numbers. But I only played after dark as I did not want to stop flying kites.”
Leo Lima, Al-Nasr’s former Brazil midfielder, on his childhood

Germany will dominate European football over the next ten years. I think they have no weakness anymore.”
Willy Sagnol

Ganso? I have never heard of him. I don't know him, where does he play? What position?”
Harry Redknapp responds to being asked if Tottenham Hotspur were close to signing the
Brazil playmaker


"I told my players at half-time that if I could make 11 substitutions, I would change the entire team. There are people who perceive the [Christmas] holidays as a time to rest, while others travel and do not stop eating and drinking."
Jose Mourinho after his Real Madrid side recovered a two-goal half-time deficit to win 3-2 at home to Malaga in their first match back after the break