The Week in Quotes

12 Jun 2021

"You send him a melon, he turns it into caviar!” Antoine Griezmann on playing with Lionel Messi [L'Equipe]

“There was a massive football fan zone with a massive dome and it was crazy. But do you know what? Until this day I have never had a beer and I am 22! That is the truth. Never had a pint. People get surprised. I just don’t like the smell of it so I have never gone near it. But we’ll have a pint together if we win the EURO!” Declan Rice on holidaying in Dubai and cheering on England at Russia 2018 [Daily Mirror]

"It was a joke. The atmosphere with Luis was spectacular. He is a guy that works hard, was great for the group, and the numbers speak for themselves. They practically gave him away for nothing, above all to a direct rival in Atletico. And look, they went on to win the league with him. He shut a lot of mouths.” Jordi Alba on Barcelona’s sale of Luis Suarez [Cadena SER]

“Every time we're in Finland, we're always staying at the same very beautiful and picturesque hotel. The whole team always goes in the sauna during the evening when the day is finished. We just relax, talking bulls, laughing, joking, sweating and you sleep fantastic afterwards.” Tim Sparv on the secret to Finland’s recent success [Sportsmail]

"There’s something I tell our players before every England game, and the reason that I repeat it is because I really believe it with all my heart. I tell them that when you go out there, in this shirt, you have the opportunity to produce moments that people will remember forever. You are a part of an experience that lasts in the collective consciousness of our country. We saw that during Russia 2018, with the street parties, the barbecues and with every drop of beer thrown into the air in celebration. When England play, it’s not a few thousand — or even a few million — watching on subscription. You are representing more than 50 million people." Gareth Southgate [The Players' Tribune]

“It is true that sometimes, there is this image that is a bit too wonderful and a bit too beautiful. But in the end, I am just a normal guy. A player amongst others. There is no need to say I am the kindest or the nicest. I am just a player like the others. I think that sometimes, it is overblown. It does not need to be. It is true that I like to get on well with my team-mates, to have good relationships with people that I come across in the streets and in football. But aside from that, there are other people like that in football. We don’t need to make a whole story or sometimes exaggerate." N'Golo Kante

“The song itself never annoyed me. What bothered me, however, was that some people only connected me with it and not with my goals. The song doesn't exist because 'Will Grigg' fits the rhythm so well, but because I scored 25 goals for Wigan. Everyone in England and Northern Ireland knew that, but not at the EUROs. All my friends and relatives enjoyed the song – except for my little daughter. Whenever she went to the playground, her friends would sing the song. At the beginning, she thought it was funny, but at some point, it annoyed her." Will Grigg [Goal and SPOX]

"It made some of my friends laugh, because they call me that, the phoenix from Grenoble. It is a compliment because it means that no matter the circumstances, I don't give up." Olivier Giroud [M6]

“The country was deep into lockdown, in the middle of the winter, and there wasn’t much to smile about. There didn’t seem much hope on the horizon at that stage; the virus was still spreading and the vaccines hadn’t yet shown their worth. A lot of people were finding it very tough. To qualify, and give everyone a reason to celebrate, was something we took a lot of satisfaction from. It was also a reminder of how much football means to the people of Scotland.” Steve Clarke on Scotland’s qualification for the UEFA EURO []

“He was my role model; he still is. He is someone who made me believe in myself, to mirror the skills that he showcased – not in the same way or at the same pace, because he was at a level above me. But this type of attacker is what I like. He is the only player from whom I tried to take three or four things. So when I was young, that was when I really loved him. I had a VHS of him from 1996/97 when he was playing at Barça. Karim Benzema on Ronaldo [BeIN Sports]

"Everybody is still upset about losing to France at the World Cup. I wasn’t surprised we beat Brazil, but I felt like France set up to stop us rather than go toe-to-toe with us. We know we are good and can be great, but we need to go out and prove it by winning a title. The term ‘golden generation’ comes more from fans and media. Time may be running out for this group." Romelu Lukaku [Goal]

“The fact that the player who has the record now is my best friend means that, as you can imagine, we’ve joked about it plenty of times! When you get closer to a record, you definitely want to make sure you beat it and don’t end up falling short. It’s a big thing to achieve, and now I just want to see my name go over Therese’s to the top of that list!” Caroline Seger on closing in on becoming the most-capped European in history []

“He’s our leader, our captain. As usual he’s preparing in the best way. He’s one of the best professionals around. The numbers speak for themselves. He’s still going, he’s still a beast, so expect nothing else but greatness." Jose Fonte {talkSPORT]