The Week in Quotes

“I started playing when I was five or six years old. I played with boys until I was 11 because there was no girls’ team. It has always been accepted where I come from. Even though I was the only girl in the guys’ team, they wanted to play with me.” Denmark and Wolfsburg midfielder Pernille Harder speaks with the Guardian

"What I can say is that, when you have a player like Messi, be it any team in the world, you have a little advantage. Messi is not only a goalscorer, he creates, he defines the way the opponent defends their approach, their training. Coming up against Messi, things aren't going to be easy. They are going to be a lot different for the opposition, because he's unpredictable in one-on-one duels, and also with his passes. And obviously, the other team ends up very reactive to what he does on the field." Former Barcelona midfielder Deco talks about Lionel Messi’s qualities, in an interview with Omnisport

“The World Cup elimination? Those were difficult days, I wanted to end my career with the World Cup. It seemed the perfect way, it would have been the perfect final catwalk. Unfortunately that’s not how it went. Gianluigi Buffon reflects on failing to qualify for Russia 2018 with Italy, speaking with Mediaset

"Always he is and will be a special player for me because he represent a little bit this change in all the processes when we arrived at Tottenham. Sure he was a very successful player, and sure he will be a very successful person in football, and everything that he is going to do. It is very sad news but it opens up a massive future (for him). He is 26 but he is an amazing person and has an amazing football brain.” Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the news of his former player Ryan Mason having to retire at the age of 26 due to suffering a fractured skull in January 2017

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech sends a message of encouragement to Mason on social media

“We know that Portugal are not favourites in the World Cup. For me, the favourites are Spain, Germany, France, Argentina and Brazil. We are part of a group of teams that know they can compete at the highest level.” Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo looks ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, speaking with Goal

“Once, after training, Alexis drove into Udine to do some shopping. But he accidentally locked his keys and mobile phone in his car. I'm not sure what most people would have done, but he just ran home. He jogged the 8km from the heart of the city to his house in the hills. Bemused locals saw him in his club tracksuit running and called us at the paper. It was typical of Alexis to turn the situation into an improvised cross-country run.” Italian journalist Pietro Oleotto tells Inside United magazine a story about Manchester United and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez

"I believe there are some who are born with talent, who have been touched by God's magic wand and who have class from a young age. And then there are other players who make it with lots of work. Both can turn out to be stars, but with different paths. Mbappe, for example, is a player who has an enormous potential and who is acquiring experience.” Paris Saint-Germain and Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani on team-mate Kylian Mbappe, in an interview with MARCA

“Besides being a fan of him as a player, I had the pleasure of getting to know the person he is, which made me admire him even more. He’s conquered everything, but is still humble — and great company. I’m proud to be able to have his help and advice.” Brazil and Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus on how Ronaldo has helped him while he recovers from injury

Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal uses a metaphor to describe the team's progress since he took charge at the end of last year

"Obviously, I had the chance to read more deeply from Mr. Jackson and I’ve learned big things, not only about sports but also because life is about opportunities: How to try and maximise players’ potential starting from the good things the players do. Yes, I have a deep admiration for him, his teams and obviously at this time it was the top team and they had the Messi of basketball, Michael Jordan. So, I think I learned a lot from this experience." Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio talks about his admiration for former NBA and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson

“People have a bit of a wrong view of defenders in Barcelona because they think: ‘Ah it’s an easy job, they only attack, attack, attack’ but the demands are very high,” he continues. “Playing in the other team’s half doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s because we keep them under constant pressure.” Barcelona and Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen speaks with the Guardian about a common misperception about Barça defenders

"To create a situation where everybody feels important, enjoys themselves, knows their jobs, feels respected and feels needed—that's how life should be." Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talks about his coaching philosophy with Goal

Everton forward Wayne Rooney shares news of the healthy arrival of his fourth child, Cass Mac Rooney