"Mario Balotelli costs as much as the Mona Lisa. No team in Italy could afford him.”
Mino Raiola on rumours linking his client with a move to AC Milan
“Jose [Mourinho] can manage anywhere, absolutely. I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach, but then you've got to look at his personality – I think his personality does it. He's got a marvellous, strong personality and I think that bridges that gap. His trophy haul is incredible. How old is he now, 50? So he is 20 years behind me. At the same rate he is going to add another 42 trophies. His current rate is amazing, isn’t it? I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea]. He was telling the players, 'Look, I'm the Special One, we don't lose games'. Bloody hell, coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the Special One! But what it did, it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league."
Sir Alex Ferguson
"In my opinion, my style is similar to Messi’s. We get the ball and we attack immediately. We receive blows but we carry on. He doesn't fall, he doesn't dive. I am just the same, I hardly complain. It is for all those reasons that I like Messi a lot and I can recognise myself in him. Actually, he is like a mirror image of me."
Whoever goes to the San Siro and then to Evian, Ajaccio and Sochaux immediately sees the difference. The [French] league is routine. The Champions League makes the hairs stand up at the mere thought of the battle. Whoever hears the Champions League music wants to give everything. Whoever gets off the bus to face Reims or Troyes needed a bit of motivation.”
Jean-Marc Ferreri, the former France goalkeeper
“Neymar! Finished! (laughs) How I’d have loved to have him at Palmeiras when I was there! So, it’s great that he’s with us now rather than on the opposite side. I think that, from next year, Neymar won’t be in the top ten [for the FIFA Ballon d’Or], he’ll be in the top three.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari responds to being asked by FIFA.com if there was a player who he was relieved would now be on his team rather than against it following the 64-year-old re-appointment as Brazil coach
"Messi is from another planet. He makes everything look so easy. There is no other player that can win the Ballon d'Or. Cristiano has been great, but Messi has been better. I would put Messi first, Iniesta second and Ronaldo third. Cristiano has to be more humble. The other day I heard him asked who he thinks is the best player in the world and he said himself. Messi was asked the same question and said that he thinks Iniesta is the best, his team-mate at Barcelona, and this demonstrated his humility."
Denilson, the former Brazil winger
“He is the most talented player I’ve ever played alongside. He could do things that no other player could do. He would dictate the tempo of a game and hardly ever gave the ball away, whether it was a five-yard pass or a 30-yard pass."
Ryan Giggs on Paul Scholes
“The Mourinho talk? Yes, it’s a guillotine over my head.”
Carlo Ancelotti on rumours Paris Saint-Germain are keen on recruiting Jose Mourinho
“I wouldn’t give up the gold medal from London, but I could look at trading in one of the other ones for that!”
Ben Ainslie, who won a record fourth Olympic sailing gold this year, on whether he’d swap the medal he won in his homeland to have played in his beloved Chelsea’s victory over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final
"Cristiano has been making history for many years now, but Messi is the best in the world. For the last few years he has played at a level we have never seen before. I'm very proud to speak of him, because I was there when he started off and now he is the best in the world. It makes me so happy. Messi knows that there will always be a place in my heart for him. One day Neymar will be the best in the world though.”
"As a player, sometimes not all you have in the feet you have in the head, and Mario is a character that, as a team-mate, sometimes you laugh at what he does and sometimes you want to kill him. But in the end he is a great person. He has a great talent. If he wanted, I don’t know if he would be fighting for the Ballon d’Or with Messi and Cristiano, but he would be close to being one of the best forwards in the world.”
Pablo Zabaleta on Mario Balotelli