“It's always nice to annoy Bayern, whether as a former Lion or a Dortmunder! I play for the hottest club I can think of. Anyone who has stood in the Sudtribune gets the black-and-yellow fever.”
Moritz Leitner, Borussia Dortmund’s ex-1860 Munich midfielder
“Why do I regret Chelsea? I’m the boss of the richest club in the world. I have not had much time to adjust myself, but I've found a great restaurant! That is the first thing I did when I arrived!”
“Messi is not really from Barça's ranks. What they did was sign the most talented kid in the whole of Argentina! Messi was already Messi when he arrived at Barcelona – they simply polished him. Cristiano Ronaldo is already too old to learn and change the way he is. When he was 13, someone should have sent him home when he didn't behave properly.”
"It's crystal clear: Arjen Robben has to be dropped from the starting XI. Bayern were at their best before the winter break when he wasn’t around due to his injury. He always does the same thing: gets the ball, cuts inside and then shoots or loses the ball without tracking back. It doesn't matter whether he's a star, it’s about the team. Bayern could finish second or third in the table if they don't make changes, and that won't be acceptable to them.”
“We have done an extraordinary job and things are evolving in a fantastic way. Over a few months, the hierarchy of Italian football has changed. It’s fun looking back at the early-season reports on us, claiming that our transfer activity in June and July was disastrous and the coach was a ‘tactical terrorist’.
"I think of Milan every day, really. I was really happy at Milanello. I love the team, the staff, everybody who works there. I love the fans. I miss Milan badly, I miss Italy. I don't miss a single [Milan] game, and I don't understand those that say that Calcio is in difficulty. It's so competitive and complete."
"My role model has always been Ibrahimovic. We’re quite alike… we have the same nose! In footballing terms, I’ll admit he’s a little better than me technically!
“Outside it is still dark, but a light in me has never gone out and in a few others it is still burning. Here comes a new day, new possibilities, new beginnings, a new game. I’ll bet that this situation will change. I’ve lived through many situations like this before, and I was trying to remember the key to overcoming them. Suddenly it came to me. It’s you, the diehard fans, you have been waiting outside the ground, you were at the sports centre last night, you were living the game behind me in a special way. It is you who have applauded, you who were upset when things went wrong. You, the people of Novara, were there, are there again, and will always be there, however things go in the past, present and future, in what has been a wonderful adventure and is now a great challenge. Show us the way, stand in front of the squad, because we are obligated to follow you. Problems are not to be aggravated but solved.”
Emiliano Mondonico, the new Novara coach, sends a message to the club’s supporters
"He [Messi] is the best player world, probably in history, and to hear him praise my game is wonderful. False modesty is worse than arrogance. I've been compared to some huge names. It's not something I aspired to or expected, but it's very reassuring."
"Ever since [I said I wanted to leave] I was punished - they put me with the youngsters. I've got all the kit and equipment that professionals have, but they put me in a separate changing room. That's football for you. One day, you can be there scoring goals and doing all you have to do for your club, but the day you leave there is no pity. That's why the day you do decide to leave you have no sadness, because there are no friends in football. It's sad to say, but that's the truth. It's a collective sport but it's also very individual.
Nicolas Anelka on leaving Chelsea
"Benzema is one of the best, if not the best, player in the [Real Madrid] team right now. He’s not just a goalscorer but a [complete] footballer."
“We may have reached the final, but that hasn’t changed us. We still live normally, wash our own shirts.”
Herve Renard after his Zambia side’s shock elimination of Ghana
"I can win the Ballon d'Or, but only if Messi's level drops a bit. It will be very complicated to do so if he keeps up his current form. I really believe I can win the award, but there's not much I can do if Messi maintains this level."
“I told her not to worry and that her team wouldn’t go down. However, the most incredible thing is that, after they lost the shoot-out, I promised her that if need be I would take the team back into the first division myself. Then the very next day, the club called to offer me the job!”
Eduardo Lara on a promise he made to his daughter, a big America fan, after they were surprisingly relegated from the Colombian top tier
"Disaster is around the corner. It is, it's lurking, it's incredibly negative. Am I thinking about the bad times ahead? Jesus, no. I've got to remain positive, I'm going to fight this negativity!"
“He has a very bad temper – all he does on the pitch is look for fights. What would happen if I crossed the street. A fight, man on man… I’m not sure who would win.”
Julian Velazquez of Independiente on arch-enemies Racing Club’s Teofilo Gutierrez
“Wayne should keep his nose out of it. He didn't do enough on the pitch when Capello was manager.”
Roy Keane on his former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney expressing his disappointment on Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager and opinion on who should replace the Italian
"Ultimately, I made a choice not just with my heart but also my head. I’m not staying here just to be a tourist in Rome and see the Coliseum. I believe a lot in this new project."
Daniele De Rossi, the coveted 28-year-old midfielder, on signing a new contract with his only club, Roma