World Football

The Week in Quotes

(FIFA.com)
Zinedine Zidane, manager of Real Madrid looks on during a press conference
© Getty Images

"The stats speak for themselves. He's the best player in the history of football. Cristiano Ronaldo is better than me by far, but I'm not bothered because I had a good career."
Real Madrid coach *Zinedine Zidane *responds to a journalist's question asking him who was better as a player: himself (Zidane) or Cristiano Ronaldo

"This is the most joyful press conference of my career. I feel great joy. I think not only Shakhtar's supporters but all Ukrainians have to be proud of our team."
Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca speaks in a press conference dressed up as Zorro, a promise he made if his team advanced to the UEFA Champions League knockout round

"Everyone knows Ibrahimovic calls himself the God. But when we landed in Rostov I told him: ‘You see who the real God is’. I’m joking. There were many Armenians chanting my name. After that he understood there is another God – me!"
Speaking in a Match TV Documentary on his career, Manchester United midfielder *Henrikh Mkhitaryan *tells team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic about his popularity

"The first game will be our final. It will be a tough game because we watched Iran in qualifying and they have a very good team and a very good spirit. But if we win, we have a great opportunity to reach the second round. That's what we are coming for. They are big nations of football [Spain and Portugal] and have won everything already. So that's why we have nothing to lose against these two. We know that it is not going to be easy, but we can surprise them."
Former Morocco midfielder and current assistant coach *Mustapha Hadji *gives his thoughts on the Atlas Lions' World Cup group containing Portugal, Spain and IR Iran, speaking with BBC sport

"Germany have a very young side now and they still don't have much experience - neither the players nor on the technical side of things," she continued. "And that's the kind of experience you can't buy. It's something you acquire over time and you can't speed things up. You have to be patient and you need to go through things, including bad times and disappointments, in order to grow and mature. That's the path Germany must follow if they're to reach the level everyone expects of them."
Former Germany forward *Celia Sasic * speaks about her country's recent performances

"We had a few wobbles over the 13 years. You know the boss, always on European nights, would come onto the pitch. He'd start taking penalties and free kicks and telling all of us how great he was when he played — the goals he scored and things like that. But the time when I really got to find out how great he was after a game against Arsenal where I think I'd made a couple of mistakes. He came into the dressing room, we had a few words, he started to walk over toward me and he kicked a pile of clothes on the floor. Out came this boot and hit me. That's when I realised actually how accurate he really is!"
David Beckham speaks at the fundraising event Grassroot Soccer Gala about his relationship with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

"We keep getting Argentina for some reason. We don’t want to play against Messi, but it is what it is. We’ve got to go and play our football and see what happens. After what Iceland did last year [beating England in the last 16 of the Euros], football nowadays, there’s no easy game. Argentina are going to be scared of us as well. It’s all about football at the end of the day."
Nigeria winger *Victor Moses **speaks with Mirror Online about the Super Eagles' World Cup draw pairing them with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia *

"I don’t think that Eden is at the peak of his career yet. I think he has a lot of improvement [to make]. It’s important for him to work, work, work in every training session to improve himself and then to have this kind of performance. You are only at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League or when you win the World Cup. At that moment, you are a great player."
Chelsea manager *Antonio Conte *talks about playmaker Eden Hazard's potential

"When we have a ball at our feet, we footballers are delighted, but what happens behind the scenes is not always all that pretty. When you get to the level that I'm at, often you are a very lonely man. God gives us this talent, but it's a talent that you need to work on. I've seen so many phenomenal players at youth level - lads who you would say: 'If only they had their head screwed on, they could have been the next [Diego] Maradona or Messi’."
Argentina and Juventus forward *Paulo Dybala *opens up about life as a professional footballer in an interview with Vanity Fair Italia

"The key to qualification is going to be the first match, on 18 June, against England. England have got a lot better this year, especially after appointing a new coach and fielding young talent. Dele Alli and Harry Kane are exceptional players. For me, Kane is one of the greatest forwards in the world right now. We have a great chance. We have talented players - players who are at the summit of their form and young players too. The average age of this Tunisian squad is 26 and despite meeting England, we have a great chance of reaching the second round."
Tunisia coach *Nabil Maaloul *speaks with BBC Sport about his squad and facing England at Russia 2018

"I’m very happy to see a Barça game again in the stadium, most of all, for my son. He just turned 8, his dream was to watch a Barcelona game live. Just like almost all kids around the world, Messi is like a god to him."
Former Barcelona coach *Frank Rijkaard *visits the club with his son

"Messi is one of the best, if not the best, who ever touched the ball, so it's going to be nice to test yourself against him. We know it's going to be tough, we're going to be defending 95 per cent of the time but that five per cent when we play a little bit of football we may nick a goal and surprise a few people. We know we're playing Argentina, we have to think about our game, how we're going to stop them and how we’re going to make their day difficult."
Burnley and Iceland midfielder *Johan Berg Gudmondssen *tells the Burnley Express that the Nordic island nation could surprise a few on their World Cup debut this summer

"It was a moment in which several things suddenly passed through my head," says Rafael. "How I started. Where I’m from. Where I am today. How far I’ve come and how I turned out. And then there was also the feeling of pure joy fuelled by all the support on the pitch and in the stands." 
Urawa Red Diamonds forward Rafael Silva, currently at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017, explains why his goal in the AFC Champions League final was so emotional

"I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea. I joined United in 2008 and, from that moment, we needed to be ready for the day Edwin van der Sar retired. I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup.  Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies. He makes every kind of save, he dominates his penalty area. He is now the greatest goalkeeper in the world."
Former Manchester United goalkeeper coach Eric Steele *gives insight into the club's pursuit of David de Gea, **writing in The Daily Mail *

Congo DR and Villarreal forward *Cedric Bakambu *praises De Gea's outstanding performance against Arsenal with a joke on Twitter

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