The Week in Quotes
© Getty Images

“If you look at it bluntly, forget how many goals they scored or titles they won, I have no doubt that Messi is already greater than Maradona. Many will still say that if he doesn’t become a world champion [with Argentina], score a wonder goal in an important game in the World Cup, he won’t be recognised. But the standard of his play has already put him on a level beneath only Pele, who was more complete.”
Tostao

“Up until yesterday they were the champions I peeked at through the bushes. Now they’re my champions.”
Andrea Stramaccioni after being promoted from Inter Milan’s youth team coach into their senior one’s hot-seat

“One thing that people forget about Gareth is that he's only 22. He's a machine. He's 6ft 2ins, unbelievably quick, one of the best, if not the best, left-sided attackers on the planet. He's incredibly aggressive offensively. When he picks the ball up he can [carry it] 50 to 60 metres within seconds and go past three or four players. He can turn a defensive situation into an offensive situation with in a blink of an eye, because he's so quick and strong. Messi and Ronaldo, they aren't from this planet. But behind those two are another group of players who are fantastic. Gareth Bale will fit into that group. Harry Redknapp won't like me saying this, but he could play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid – absolutely.”
Chris Coleman on Gareth Bale

“If River get promoted to the top flight, I’ll shave my head. But I won’t leave the moustache. I did it once and I looked like D'Artagnan!”
Matias Almeyda makes a promise, but refusing to go as far as risking looking like the iconic musketeer

"Barcelona are not a normal team, but a team full of mythological gods.”
Edgar Davids

"He has a good right cross and his hook isn’t bad either. He could have become a good middleweight. He’s the same type of boxer as [Carlos] Monzon. What is certain is that Inler is more talented with his fists that Monzon was with a ball!”
Patrizio Oliva on Gokhan Inler – the Napoli midfielder trains with the legendary former boxer

"Ronaldinho was an exceptional player at Barça. He arrived at the club at a critical time, won everything, and changed Barca's history. Where Barça are at now is 80 per cent down to him.”
Edmilson

"I faced Zanetti for the first time in the Champions League quarter-finals in 1999. He impressed with his qualities: his speed, power, intelligence and expertise. I played against him on another two occasions and he was my most difficult opponent, a complete player. Del Piero is the best Italian player I've played against.”
Ryan Giggs on the toughest opponents he’s come up against during his career

“Bayern are on the same level as Real Madrid. Only Barcelona are slightly better. Bayern have the best attack in Europe with Gomez, Robben, Muller and Ribery.”
Jean-Pierre Papin

“The statistics say just that. We went furthest at the World Cup, we won the Copa America, and we’re first in qualifying [for Brazil 2014]. Moreover, not every team goes 14 internationals unbeaten. We’re currently the team to beat in the region.”
Diego Lugano to FIFA.com on whether Uruguay are the top team in South America

"Messi is quite a weapon for Barça. Having him in your team is huge. He’s the most decisive player in the world right now. However, I think there's someone who was even better and that's Pele. He was as dangerous with his right foot as he was with his left. He was strong in the air and created a lot of chances."
Gianni Rivera

“He is a great player great range of skills. Sometimes with the ball at his feet, he is like Lionel Messi. The ball really sticks to his feet. He is really good to play with.”
Papiss Cisse on Hatem Ben Arfa

“Messi is difficult enough to stop in a video game, yet alone in real life!”
Philippe Mexes

 “The 2009/10 campaign, that of the treble, was fantastic and can’t be repeated. It has certainly been a weight on the shoulders of my successors as Inter coach. Inter is my home. A return home is always possible.”
Jose Mourinho

“Barcelona are, without doubt, one of the best five teams in football history. The only way they can improve is buy signing Neymar and Thiago Silva. Guardiola dreams about these two players. Thiago would replace Puyol, and Neymar would play alongside Messi. Barcelona have exceptional playmakers, but they lack an incredible player up front. If Barcelona had Neymar, it would be cowardly.”
Tostao