“I’ve never admitted to it, but it’s true. I was not very well, I was poorly at half-time but I carried on. The ball went down the left-hand side, I did try to tackle someone, I stretched and then I ‘relaxed myself'. It was messy, it just came out. I was very fortunate it rained that night and I could do something about it - you can see me rubbing the ground like a dog. It was the most horrendous experience of my life. But I never found so much space in a game than I did that night after that happened!”
Gary Lineker on being caught short in England’s Italy 1990 opener against Republic of Ireland

“Even if Real Madrid had fielded three teams they would have lost. Barcelona were simply devastating. They are the strongest team of all time. They have a great coach as well as great players. They are the beauty of football.”
Francesco Totti on Barça’s 5-0 win in El Clásico

“Whereas most teams can train under their beautiful bubble, we haven’t really got anywhere - no indoor facility. Last year I had to do different things with the lads when it came to training. We went to do training on the beach but even that was frozen. So we went to the casino instead, got the bacon sandwiches in and organised a poker tournament!”
Ian Holloway on the difficulty of conducting his Blackpool training sessions amid snowy conditions

“I want to tell you a little story about my hometown, Leningrad. The city was destroyed during World War II. There was no electricity, no heat and no food during winter, but there was football. Football helped the people to make it through this hard time. Football is especially popular in Russia. 2018 will be fantastic.”
Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister

"Once Mourinho said, 'Wesley, go and take a break with your family, you seem tired'. Many other coaches just used to speak of training, but he sent me to the beach. And so I went to Ibiza for a few days. When I came back I was ready to kill and die for him.”
Wesley Sneijder

“The culture of football in England is fantastic. It is a different style to Spain, where we aim for possession of the ball and skilful football. In England it is pure football, physical football, football for men.”
Michel Salgado to FIFA.com

"Do I feel the strongest player in the world? Yes, I do. For me, to be second doesn't exist."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“The criticism hurts, but it is justified. I do not want pity. But even Bastian Schweinsteiger went through a difficult period. I am a human, not a robot.”
Daniel van Buyten of Bayern Munich

"I’ve never been a great goalscorer. But I give 200 per cent, I play with my heart, I've got guts, I give everything I've got. I don't cheat or cut corners, that's my strength, my character, and I think that’s why [the fans] like me."
Marouane Chamakh

“It was the worst game in the history of Real Madrid.”
Florentino Perez on his club’s 5-0 loss in El Clásico

"If we are going to hire a goalkeeper as a trainer, we haven't learnt anything from all the bad stuff that has happened since [ex-President Mauricio] Macri left. I would die to be Boca's coach.”
Diego Maradona on rumours Julio Cesar Falcioni is favourite for the vacant Boca Juniors job

“He asked me and I told him that if he wasn’t sure which way to go, he should go to his left. He did and he stopped it. It is nice that after such an act, he remembered me. He looked for me on the bench, but I was in the changing room, so he caught me afterwards to thank me.”
Jose Leon, Mallorca’s kitman, on Dudu Aouate's penalty save against Malaga

“I have to admit that Liverpool is still in my heart, and even from a distance I follow the latest news on the club. I have a fantastic relationship with the Reds fans and I’m happy that some of them recently came to visit me at the San Siro the day before the Napoli-Liverpool match.”
Rafa Benitez to FIFA.com

“Footballers need to understand that being a national-team player isn’t just about playing well. You have to imagine you’re wearing the green jersey 24 hours a day, everywhere you go. It’s about so much more than playing football because El Tricolor means a lot to Mexican people.”
Juan Manuel de la Torre to FIFA.com

“Victories are like penicillin: they cure all the problems.”
Dejan Stankovic

“I’d swap the European cold to feel the warmth of the [Flamengo] supporters again. I may be a long way away but I feel close. I follow everything, I suffer all the emotions like the rest of the team. It’d be a dream to return to Flamengo, but I want Fluminense to win the [Brasileirao] title on Sunday – my mother is a Tricolor.”
Vagner Love

“What made us different is that we pushed the boundaries: we created new concepts, things which were not conventional but still very realistic for a country like ours. It’s going to be best World Cup ever, 100 per cent guaranteed!”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar

"Off the pitch we are similar: shy but relaxed. But on it a player like Messi comes along just once every 30 years. But I can say that I have never lost a game to him on the Playstation!"
Javier Pastore

“I would love to play in the World Cup Final against Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be a dream.”
Iker Casillas

“It’s very strange. Gloves, scarves, I think somebody came on a few weeks ago for [Manchester] City who had a hat on. They’ve all gone soft. I think John Barnes wore gloves but to be fair I think that boy could play. That was just gloves. Then it went to tights. Now it’s scarves.”
Roy Keane