“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama. The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona.”
Lionel Messi [Goal]
“It was my fault. They showed me the line-up, I didn't have my glasses on and just said it was fine. I didn't notice Acerbi was there rather than Chiellini.”
Roberto Mancini on the mix-up that saw Francesco Acerbi start Italy’s 1-1 draw with Bosnia Herzegovina in place of mainstay Giorgio Chiellini
"Maybe eight years. I don't think about the end of my career. I don't feel like 32. I feel better than when I was 26. I've worked very specifically in recent years to reach my optimal level."
Robert Lewandowski, 32, on how long he will play on for [Kicker]
"In his personality he’s more like Henrik, I would say, but then you look at the way he plays on the field and he’s almost like a mix of [Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic]... He can be a special player, I’m sure. He’s already extremely good, of course, but I believe he can reach a really world-class level in the next couple of years."
Lars Lagerback on Erling Haaland [FIFA.com]
"He will be remembered as a spectacular player, one of the best in the world in his position. It's true, when I retire I will be able to say that I trained Cristiano [Ronaldo], [Gareth] Bale, [Luka] Modric, [Sergio] Ramos. But I will also say I coached Toni Kroos. It is impressive to see him train every day. How professional [he is]. Talking about him is talking about someone extraordinary. He is so good that he could play as a six or even as a 10. You put him in and he adapts. His main virtue is his serenity, he's calm. He's not nervous and loves reaching out to shoot from distance as much as making a back pass. The ease with which he plays with both feet is fascinating to me. You could come to think that he's a natural left-footed player.”
Zinedine Zidane on Toni Kroos [Real France]
"I told [Mo Salah] that next season I will score more goals than he does with Liverpool. He accepted the challenge and told me that I wouldn’t win."
Ahmed ‘Kouka’ Hassan on his Egypt team-mate [FIFA.com]
"The WSL, is, for me, the best league in the world now. It never used to be, I think the American league was, but the WSL is taking over."
Lianne Sanderson [Sky Sports]
“I didn't train. I didn't look after my body. I was eating. I was drinking fizzy drinks. I went to bed at 6, 7 o'clock in the morning. I woke up 3, 4 o'clock in the afternoon, went to training, stayed up again all night, eating at wrong times. I underestimated it.”
Marko Arnautovic on moving to the Chinese Super League [Beanyman Sports]
"When De Gea makes a mistake we always make a big deal out of it, so when he plays like this we should be hailing him. It would be great to see him on the front page saying 'What a great keeper we have!' but since that won't happen I am saying it.”
Luis Enrique on David de Gea
"After the first training session I realised many things. I came home and asked my family and my manager if I could not break the contract and return to Arsenal, something did not fit me, but I had already signed. Months passed and I kept feeling the same. We were not united as a team at that time. The journalists also spoke without knowing and it hurt. Former players also spoke and had no idea what was happening inside the club. I do self-criticism and should have played better. But I was always blamed, even if I played for a few minutes."
Alexis Sanchez on his time at Manchester United
“In England, you run through three-quarters of the pitch and everyone starts screaming ‘shoooooot!’. You can hit the worst shot ever and people will clap for you because they really appreciate you trying to score. I love it.”
Miguel Layun on his time in England [The Guardian]
"Football is a sport which requires spirit. By re-launching the [Chinese Women’s Super League], we want to convey a message that we never lose our confidence and passion for the game. The pandemic may have caused difficulties to us. However, it has also made us think about the meaning of life. The world needs solidarity and responsibility (in fighting the virus) and we can demonstrate it through football."
Sun Wen [FIFA.com]
"Christian is perfect for Chelsea. All dangerous offensive actions run through him, he shines as a goalscorer and as a preparer. If Christian maintains this level, he can also play for the biggest clubs in the world like Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid without any problems."
Gregg Berhalter on Christian Pulisic [Sport Bild]
"Friends we will never be again, but team-mates to defend the national team we will be with great strength. He will do the maximum and so will I. In football not everyone is friends, but other things happen on the pitch."
Arturo Vidal on his relationship with Claudio Bravo
“With Pep Guardiola I have the feeling that he always wants to do something special in big games. Barcelona had a DNA, a system he pulled through. Pep was successful there. With Bayern and City, he tried it over and over again with changes and failed again and again. He always wanted to show that he could do even better. I would like to tell him: Pep, you are a giant trainer – but please keep your system! I would describe it as egocentric. Yes, that’s a harsh word, but it is due to what he did. At Bayern, Robert Lewandowski even had to play left wing once. That did not work out at all.”
Lothar Matthaus [Sport Bild]
“For five in a row... I can’t see any women’s team ever being able to accomplish that achievement ever again."
Lucy Bronze after winning the UEFA Women's Champions League with Lyon [BT Sport]
“The director of the company I was working for called me into her office and said, ‘Close the door’. I thought, ‘Oh, gosh, what have I done wrong now?’ She said she’d had a call from Dave Lockwood, that there were two Brazilian players landing in Manchester in an hour, and they wanted me to translate. Suddenly I was in meetings with Sir Alex Ferguson.”
Laura Doyle on going from working a PR job to working in football [FIFA.com]
“Build your franchise, build your legacy, to become something more, to become the one and only, the first Declan Rice. Stay with the people that brought you to the dance, stay with West Ham and become the hero, become the champion, become everything that they all know Declan Rice can be."
Triple H, WWE legend
“I have to leave Penarol but first I wanted to write a few words of thanks. Thank you for the opportunity you gave me... To the players, thank you very much for your patience, your respect, your dedication and your teachings. Finally, thanks to the fans for their love. I have no complaints - this is football.”
Diego Forlan after being sacked by Penarol