"He didn’t talk football. He said: ‘Imagine Patrice with his 24 brothers and sisters. His parents have to feed them all on a bad street.’ He talked about Rooney growing up in a tough part of Liverpool. Carlos Tevez coming from Argentina. He talked about difficulties for other players. He then said: ‘This is my victory. We have already won the Champions League. Enjoy the game.’ Even now I’m having goosebumps."
Patrice Evra on Sir Alex Ferguson's speech ahead of the 2008 UEFA Champions League final [The Guardian]
"A magnificent player. Someone who really deserves to be placed among the greatest players in history. I’ve never seen a player shoot like him – the accuracy, the power. His vision and passing were on a different level."
Claudio Taffarel on Gheorghe Hagi [FIFA.com]
"He is the Usain Bolt of football. His trajectory has been phenomenal. He is now comfortably one of the best left-backs in the game."
Rio Ferdinand on Alphonso Davies [BT Sport]
“In positional play, in the general perception of the entire game, in tactical behaviour both offensively and defensively - Guardiola downright reprogrammed me. It's the simple movements that make you think, 'Oh, never'. But when you implement them, you realise very quickly that Guardiola is right. What he advises helps a lot, it makes the game easier and faster. Tactics are the most important thing to him.”
Leroy Sane on working with Pep Guardiola [Kicker]
“My goalkeeping background has definitely helped because as a keeper you need to be able to get over disappointment quickly and refocus after a big save. Basically, you need to be the most emotionally stable person on the pitch. It’s the same now in front of the camera: I need to be calm, gather my thoughts, think rationally and not allow emotion to impact how I do the job.”
Former England keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis on the transition from playing to TV punditry [FIFA.com]
“Top scorer in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League. The best footballer in the world is Lewandowski. Period. When you see what this trophy means for this wonderful centre-forward, how happy he was, what he gave and sacrificed for it, you know what it means to him. He has worked towards this for many years. He deserved this and the title of best footballer in the world.”
Lothar Matthaus on Robert Lewandowski [Sky Deutschland]
“It may not be obvious, but it was difficult to say ‘No’. “Curacao has made good steps in recent years and I would like to help the players and staff to get one step higher in the international ladder.”
Guus Hiddink, who has signed up to be Curacao's manager for the Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign
“In women’s sport we often face cultural barriers and predetermined gender roles. I want to play my part in changing these perceptions and educating society about the health and mental benefits for women participating in team sports. In my opinion, we should be given the opportunity to pursue the sporting careers we love without any cultural sensitivities and with society’s full support."
United Arab Emirates international and Guiness world hotstepping record holder Areej Al Hammadi [FIFA.com]
"I feel Barcelona is my home. In the previous visits to the city, I was missing something because I had not come to work for FC Barcelona. Now I am the coach and I am very happy. The most important thing is to know, whether you are a coach, player or employee, you are in the best club in the world and nothing can be better. We are very lucky to be part of this club "
"He is the nearest thing to Gazza I've seen. Gazza is the most difficult opponent I ever played against. Jack has that same outstanding ability and audacity with the ball."
Tim Sherwood on Jack Grealish [Daily Star]
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead. Before I had arrived, I also spoke with the board about Neymar. If you are at United, you have to think big. He was also interesting for the club in terms of selling shirts, and I wanted to have quick wingers. For that reason, I also tried to get Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez. Thomas Muller was on my wish list, too, and in central midfield I wanted N’Golo Kante. I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old but very multi-functional and possessed leadership skills. For the defence, I wanted Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels, because ours wasn’t the strongest in building from the back.”
Louis van Gaal on the players he wanted to sign while Manchester United manager [FourFourTwo]
“The best advice that I can give is that there is no excuse. Even if you don’t have food, or if you don’t have shoes, if you don’t have support from your family or from your coach. No, there is no excuse, because I have experienced a lot. If you want to gain something, you have to work hard.”
Golnoosh Khosravi, who overcame a tough childhood to become an Iran international [the-afc.com]