The Week in Quotes
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“The Royal Spanish Academy needs to come up with a new word to define what Messi does out on the pitch.”
Alejandro Sabella urges the organisation responsible for regulating the Spanish language to invent a new adjective to describe his Argentina No10

“Real Madrid? Barcelona would be a better fit for Balotelli – an average player joining an average team.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on rumours linking his former Inter Milan team-mate Mario Balotelli with a move to the Bernabeu

“Gerrard is good enough to convert to a centre-half. He's competitive, reads the game brilliantly and has a terrific range of passing. The Germans have done it for years – Matthaus, Beckenbauer and Sammer all went back there. We should do that more. Instead, we get a player, put him in a position, then say, 'He's tired now, he hasn't got the legs, get rid of him'. You wouldn't say Glenn Hoddle is a physical player, but he did it. You might get muscled out of a tackle, you might lose a 50-50, but in modern football, the aggressive centre-halves, the bully boys with split eyes, have gone. You tackle once, it's a yellow; the second tackle, you're gone.You want players who can intercept, who can read the game and nick the ball.”
Chris Waddle champions the novel idea of deploying Steven Gerrard at centre-back for England

“I learned more from Wenger than Guardiola. Guardiola is not the best coach in the world – he coached the best team in the world, with the best players, and that's why he won. It's hard not to win with a team like that, and Vilanova will have even greater success. The best coaches in the world are Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger.”
Alexander Hleb

“It’s not as if he is the best the league has ever seen. We had [Enzo] Francescoli, [Dragan] Stojkovic, and [Didier] Drogba! If you give me the choice between Drogba and Zlatan, I would pick Didier for several reasons – even at his age.”
Jose Anigo, Marseille’s sporting director

“Glenn Hoddle was like Santi Cazorla - you could not say if he was left- or right-footed. I don't remember anyone else I have worked with who was two-footed as much as those two. Santi is right-footed, but when you watch him play you don't know it. It shows how important that is in the modern midfield. When Cazorla plays he makes everyone around him play better.”
Arsene Wenger

“Whose side was I on? On Sergio's, supporting a team-mate who was going through a hard time. And on the coach’s, because he's looking out for the team. It's not a question of siding with Sergio or the boss, but supporting everyone equally.”
Iker Casillas on the fall-out between Jose Mourinho and Sergio Ramos

“Ally deserves the goals he has got in the last few weeks from set-pieces because he has been out there practising them religiously. Ask Richard Wright – he has got a bad back from picking them out of the goal! Ally has got power, dip, direction – he rates highly in terms of free-kick takers I have worked with. The one I have seen that was probably better, and Ally would admit it, was Mihajlovic. But Ally would have to admit it because he is manager of Serbia!”
David Platt on Aleksandar Kolarov

“I could write a 200-page book about my two years with Mario Balotelli at Inter. However, the book wouldn’t be a drama but a comedy.”
Jose Mourinho