The Week in Quotes

"Yes, I did hear it, and he said it to me too. I hope football does end up paying me! (laughs)" **Lionel Messi responds to Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli's statement that football owes Messi a FIFA World Cup™, in an exclusive interview with

"He’s a wonderful person. He’s got lots of titles, so maybe he can just leave this one to us." Gremio forward** [Luan** speaks with]( about fellow Brazilian and Real Madrid left-back Marcelo ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 final 

"I’m really tired when I get home and I don’t have the energy to be playing with him all day. I just go in goal." Marcelo** talks about his eight-year-old son Enzo, who plays as a forward for one of Real Madrid's junior teams 

"For me… From the little that I saw, Alfredo Di Stefano, Cruyff…And Messi. Cristiano could be up there too." *Diego Maradona responds when asked who he thinks is the best player ever, in an exclusive interview with AS*

"Being sad doesn’t help. Crying all day doesn’t help. Being positive helps. Praying for him helps. When I’m next to his bed, talking with him, saying good things to him, those things help. We’re with my brother 24-7." *Abderrahim Nouri,the oldest brother of Abdelhak "Appie" Nouri, speaks with The Guardian about his young brother who collapsed on the pitch in July while playing for Ajax and suffered permanent brain damage*

"When I was seven or eight, I got a trampoline. My dad used to say to me all the time, ‘come on with the head’ and then pass the ball to me as I jumped. I really think it’s helped my heading game because I practiced this all the time with my dad. I found it funny when I was little to jump high and head or kick the ball, but it helped me for the future as well because the aerial game is one of my good points." Spain forward Alvaro Morata reveals the secret behind his strong heading ability, speaking with Chelsea's official magazine 

"I could see the newspapers in other countries talking about how unlucky we are to get that kind of group but that is exactly what we want. We want those big games. We want to play against Argentina. What an amazing team to play against in the first game ever for Iceland in the World Cup! To play against Lionel Messi and the Argentinian team in Moscow, just a fantastic experience!" Iceland midfielder Olafur Skulason tells Goal that the country is feeling optimistic about their first ever FIFA World Cup™ appearance at Russia 2018 this summer

"Sir Alex Ferguson is still mad at me today. He thought that I would move to Man Utd in 2003 or 2004, but I was more interested in trying to define an era at Bayern. Looking back, I should have done it then. It would have been a nice challenge for me." **Oliver Kahn talks about how he almost joined Manchester United, in an interview with Bild

"I’m confident. We’re going to be world champions again." Japan forward Mami Ueno speaks with** about her confidence in the national team to lift the trophy in France in 2019

"David is hugely competitive, everyone knows his skills, there is no doubt—a blind guy is able to see that—but you cannot imagine how competitive he is. He is a stylish guy, but he is an animal, always wanting to win games.” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks with the Manchester Evening News about the qualities of midfielder David Silva

"After the elimination against Sweden, I have received so much love. People have realised that I have never worn masks during my career. appreciated. I live day by day, I do not exclude ." The Best FIFA Goalkeeper 2017 Gianluigi Buffon responds when asked if he could play at EURO 2020, speaking at the Gazzetta Sports Awards

"We had no petrol but ideas, they have petrol and ideas, so that makes it even more efficient.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger when asked to compare his 2003/04 unbeaten side with the current Manchester City side, who broke an English top flight record of 15 consecutive wins in the league

Australia forward Kyah Simon reacts to her nation reaching their highest-ever place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking

"He's becoming a boss and a leader - we've seen it in the national team and seen it at Liverpool. I can tell by his celebrations that he knows what he's doing now, he's not going crazy but just sticking his tongue out to say, 'yeah it's me'. He can bring a lot of his leadership and his experience, that he is learning at Liverpool and with the national team . You know for him playing in a lot of big competitions will help him to be among the best players in Europe and during the World Cup. Mo Salah on his own cannot win the World Cup but if all his team-mates are at the level the continent expects them to be, then Mo Salah can be a fantastic player and be one of the stars in this competition." *Didier Drogba praises former team-mate Mohamed Salah in an interview with the BBC*

"Let’s remember the late Benjamin Massing. We played against each other in the Opening Match of Italy 1990. Behind each football player, there is a man and a family. I would like to pass on my condolences to them." Maradona paid tribute to the late Benjamin Massing, the former Cameroon defender who passed away on 9 December