The Week in Quotes

8 May 2021

"I would fight to the death for him. I couldn't join him at Chelsea, but I always said I would play for him the day I left Manchester United. Conte told me very directly: ‘If you don’t work in training you won’t play, it’s essential that you know how to play with your back to goal'. It’s important to meet people who tell you the absolute truth to help you improve." Romelu Lukaku on Antonio Conte, after being crowned Serie A champions with Inter Milan (RTBF)

"My dad dropped me off at the White House because we don't live too far away as if I was going to soccer practice." Midge Purce (CBS Sports)

It’s certainly what we dream about [challenging for major trophies]. To expect it is a different matter because we’re a nation of 5.5 million people, so we’re never going to start any tournament as favourites. Winning is what we work for and what we play for. But the most important thing is to go as far as we possibly can and also, I feel, to make people stop and watch. The '86 team is a great example of that because, even though they didn’t win the tournament, they’re loved and respected as Denmark’s greatest because they entertained and had the world watching." Morten Wieghorst (FIFA.com)

"I never bothered about anything else apart from football. I never bothered about school. Teachers were a pain in the backside - not that I want any kids to ignore their education - but all I was going to be was a footballer and no-one was ever going to stop that dream. Not even the careers officer when he sat me down and said I was stupid. So if that careers officer is still alive, up yours." Sam Allardyce

"I think I've faced Ronaldinho during the best moment of his career and the same applies to Kaka. I think Neymar hasn't reached that level yet, but he can go even further than that. He has a lot more to still give." Leo (Goal)

"They're the next generation, for sure. The last generation of players that have maintained their level during the last ten years - Cristiano Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Robert] Lewandowski - they will not last forever. So, we have to welcome this new generation and I put them, Vinicius Junior, [Kylian] Mbappe and Rodrygo, among this new generation of players with massive potential." Ze Roberto (Goal)

"At the moment I would say Phil Foden is the best young player in the world right now on form. [Erling] Haaland is yet to play at this level. In terms of this moment, Foden is the best on form. They're doing it in a fantastic manner. I'm not a City fan but I enjoy watching them play football. Mahrez, Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Gundogan, they interchange, the fluidity they play with - it's Total Football." Rio Ferdinand (BT Sport)

"To celebrate possession football with this [Barça] team, alongside Lionel Messi, that would be a dream. I want to play the Champions League again." Mario Gotze (11Freunde)

"The wound is still bleeding. It bothers me that they said that we were carried away by the euphoria. Maldini said at half-time to be careful. The first months after the final I would wake up screaming in the middle of the night thinking about it. Now that I am a coach I think about those minutes in which we scored three goals. It is not a criticism of Ancelotti, but I would have stopped the game, changed something." Andriy Shevchenko (Corriere della Sera)

"I didn’t know what to do so I started running. I was so excited and I was so happy. I had so many feelings at once. I ended up running [laughs] and didn’t do anything, just celebrated! It was a great feeling. I was so happy and proud and nervous, but in a positive way. All these feelings." Paul Pogba on scoring in the World Cup final (ManUtd.com)

"I can’t say whether you’ll see me cry but I definitely will inwardly. I had to battle with my emotions recently when we had our last big photo shoot at the Allianz Arena. I’m incredibly grateful for the support from our fans over all the years. I’ve always had the feeling of having a special connection to them. One time at Frankfurt, a fan called me over to the fence, and after that we had eye contact at least after every game. I could always imagine myself in the South Stand because I stood there a couple of times when I was a teenager. It’s funny how it’s all turned out. I was a ball boy and, before games in the Champions League, also one of the boys who made waves with the round flag in the centre circle when the stars came out. And then, I was a player on the pitch." David Alaba (FCBayern.com)

"You only have one life. Sometimes we think about the future instead of the present. A lot of people don't realise how important health is and you realise that you have to enjoy today instead of always thinking about the future or tomorrow." Josef Martinez (ESPN)

IMAGO / Icon SMI

ATLANTA, GA Ð APRIL 27: Atlanta forward Josef Martinez (7) smiles during the CONCACAF Champions League match between Philadelphia Union FC and Atlanta United FC on April 27th, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.