The Week in Quotes

"He broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother. I wished him strength and said he had refereed well. It's a small thing, but I hope it helped him." Virgil van Dijk explaining why he embraced referee Ovidiu Hategan after the Netherlands’ 2-2 draw with Germany

"I do not deserve the Ballon d'Or. I think there are players, who have been better than me. I would have said Luka Modric, but he plays a little less well since August or September, so if we take into account the beginning of the season, I would say Kylian Mbappe. The goal for me is not to have the Ballon d'Or, it is to maximise fun on the pitch. If I win it one day, so much the better, if I don't, it will not be a problem." Eden Hazard on the Ballon d’Or

“I’ve said many times: you could imagine the next chairman who says that the social networks can make a change. That will become more and more entrenched. It will happen. I personally, would not accept it. I’m from the old school in that respect. But we’re going in that direction.” Arsene Wenger predicts the use of social media to dictate substitutions

"Was it hard to refuse Barca? It was very difficult. You have Barca who wants you, who calls you, who sends messages. But then there is the club where you are, where you are an important player and where they build a project around you. [And] subconsciously, being Messi's lieutenant may have played a part. It was really complicated times, especially for my wife, where I woke her up at 3am to talk about it!" Antoine Griezmann explains his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid, amid interest from Barcelona

"My wife does not allow me to have pictures of myself. She says, 'There is already enough talk of you and I don't want to see you on the walls - it is enough that I see you in real life'. But there is one of my feet on the wall. That is what has given us what we have, it is a reminder for the family, not for me, of what we have. That is what has created the whole situation, the whole buzz around me - the two feet. Even if it is ugly toes, we don't care - we put it on the wall just as a reminder, we have food to eat thanks to those feet, so you should kiss those feet every day - no, I'm joking. Every footballer's toes and feet around the world are ugly - there is no beautiful out there." Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“They have a really young and very fast team, which is very important in modern football. It's coming home, very soon.” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic praises England

"Mourinho doesn’t look for beauty, he looks for an enemy. If he doesn’t have one, he’ll create one. With Inter, we had an 11-point lead in the league, we lost a game and then drew one. The Monday, he held a 15-minute press conference, where he attacked everyone: Galliani, Milan, Roma, the referees, Juve. He needed to refresh the atmosphere." Thiago Motta on his former Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho

“It was, without a doubt, one of the worst matches of your life.” Thubelihle Shamase offers a frank assessment of twin sister Sphumelele’s performance in Ghana’s 0-0 draw with Mexico at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

"I believe that he will inspire a whole generation. Guys who are five, six or seven years old today will say in ten years, 'I want to be Alphonso Davies'. He will not let up in the next two or three years. He will prevail at Bayern Munich and be there, in a few years, a superstar or maybe move on to another big club." Vancouver Whitecaps academy technical director Craig Dalrymple on Alphonso Davies

“I have no idea why I did that, I was watching Depay [score a Panenka against France] yesterday and decided at last moment. I am stupid." Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic on missing an attempted Panenka penalty against Montenegro

"All the English players. [Steven] Gerrard, Frank [Lampard], JT [John Terry], Wazza [Wayne Rooney]. Then you have the foreign players, [Arjen] Robben, Hazard; I could go on forever. But if my life depended on it and I had to pick one, I still think it is Hazard that is the best I've played with. He was 19 in France and he was just so talented. I look at players and try to break them down into what they've got and he just had everything. But also the stuff that is unquantifiable. His heart, what he was about in games, was he there in the big moments? He was just a great player." Joe Cole, when asked about the best he had played with

“Do I want to be the best defender in Europe? Of course. Sergio Ramos is probably the best centre-back in the world at the moment. We know we have to match his standards or better him, if we are to be as good as he is. To get to the top, you must have an edge to your game, like Ramos does.” Manchester City centre-half Aymeric Laporte