The Week in Quotes
© AFP

"Guardiola did a fantastic job at Barça. He is the Steve Jobs of football: experimental, brave, a lover of beauty, and innovative. He is an important reference point in the footballing world, and rightly so. Barça have turned their football into a culture.”
Jorge Valdano

"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up to a special individual performance. And that was a world-class performance from a world-class player. It was the best goal I have ever seen. The best before that was Wayne Rooney's (overhead kick against Manchester City). Everyone knows how special that one was, but this one tonight, an overhead kick from 25 yards when the ball is six feet in the air... well, only certain players can do that and he is a special player. It was one of the best individual performances I have ever seen.”
Steven Gerrard on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his fourth goal against England

"I respect those who believe that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves the Ballon d'Or, but Cristiano is only the best among humans – Leo is from another planet. Ronaldo is a hard worker, very good, but there's nothing you can do when faced against Messi. What makes him the best is that other great players have had ups and downs, like Maradona. He wasn't half of what Leo is at Barça. Messi has had so many good years in his career that he deserves to be considered the best ever.”
Gerard Pique

"That's the way it is with the English: if you score against them you're a good player, if you don't, you're not. I remember Lionel Messi before the 2009 Champions League final. Then he scored against Manchester United and suddenly he was the best player in the world. Maybe now they'll say something like that about me.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"The German national team has developed wonderfully. Your attacking football is fantastic. You have one of the best teams in the world. Stars? You don't have any stars! There are good players, very good players, a couple of excellent ones and exactly three stars. The only stars to me are Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. Marco Reus is an excellent player, but not a super-super-super-star. Do the Netherlands not have any stars? That’s right.”
Ruud Gullit

“Obviously with him and Abramovich, [friendship] is for life. But the problem with Jose is he still doesn’t understand there is a time difference and he keeps sending them when I’m asleep!”
Didier Drogba on Jose Mourinho's ill-timed messages

"I remember in 2005 I was at Homebush Bay when John Aloisi kicked us into the World Cup finals. I remember jumping up then sitting down very quickly. With my rugby league hat on I thought, 'Uh-oh, this could be bad – the sleeping giant just got a giant prod'. The giant continues to be not only awake, but on the move. The stats around participation, crowds and TV ratings are hugely impressive. If football gets its act together, which we're seeing right now, then the other codes need to be really worried about it. People love the game and the atmosphere at the grounds is unique in Australian sport. It's part of the reason that Australians want football to do well in this country because they recognise that it's the world game. No other sport can put us so clearly on the world stage like the Socceroos. Football is the biggest game on the planet and we want to be part of it as a world-class football nation."
David Gallop, the new CEO of Football Federation Australia who previously held the same role for the National Football League, which is considered the biggest rugby league championship in the world

“In other non-Zlatan related news… Mathieu Valbeuna scored a worldy against Italy in a 2-1 win for France. What a player he is.”
Joey Barton tweets about his Marseille team-mate

“When I was nine I had to choose between table tennis and football because the lessons for both fell on a Saturday. Then the 2002 World Cup arrived and Ronaldo bewitched me. That’s when I left table tennis for football. I’m still quite handy with a bat though.”
Paul Pogba

“I never got on with Rafa Benitez. He even made me remove the photographs of my happiest moments with Jose Mourinho and Marcello Lippi from my locker.”
Marco Materazzi