“Thankfully John McGinn had given me some tips. He said if he comes on you need to be nibbling in his ear but don’t be critical, be complimentary. So the full time he was on I was telling him how good looking he was and I love his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.”
Stephen O’Donnell on marking Jack Grealish [Scotland HQ Live]
“Leo Messi is a genius. He’s like Beethoven or Dali. He is a competitive machine. If at the beginning he had come up against a veteran who wasn’t Ronaldinho, who had been more selfish or more of an a*shole, he would have had more problems."
Luis Enrique [TV3]
"I'd probably be playing American football, sitting here like 200 pounds and stocky. I think I could have made the NFL if I would have stuck with it. I played that before I moved to Germany because my dad was in the military. I started playing soccer because they didn't have American football for my age in Germany.”
Weston McKennie on what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a footballer
“The little one is phenomenal but the other scores 40 goals a year. Between the two, I’d prefer not to face Messi. In the Champions League in 2011, in the tenth minute I kicked him and fell to the ground exhausted, seeing stars. Then he held out his hand to help me up. I was on the ground and, when I opened my eyes two seconds later, I saw his face and his hand as he wanted to help me up. That destroyed me mentally. What depressed me was that he had got away ten times in the first ten minutes and I was starting to feel 37."
Alessandro Nesta on playing against Lionel Messi in 2011 [Calciatori Brutti]
"Count on me – granddad is not dead. I'm almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy."
Olivier Giroud [Le Figaro]
“Every game the referees say to me, ‘Hulk, you’re really strong, don’t go down.’ I’m the player who gets whacked the most [in Brazil]. For the love of God, because I’m strong I can’t get fouled?”
"All Spain do is pass from one side to the other. They don't even have a player who knows how to give a final pass."
Rafael van der Vaart [NOS]
"Van de Vaart wants his moment of glory and he's having it. I saw him in the World Cup Final, and here at Las Rozas we have a photo of Iniesta's goal against the Netherlands with [Van der Vaart] next to him.”
Koke [El Partidazo de COPE]
"I compare him to Zinedine Zidane in terms of skills, technique and overview, and anticipating a situation. Zidane didn't seem quick, but it was when he hit the ball. Havertz can do that too."Lothar Matthaus
"I think it's nonsense. He flicks the ball over, pretends he is going to catch it, and back-heels it across and looks away. Of course it is [amazing], but I think he’s belittling the opposition. This is at 1-0 and I'm sitting here while you all rave about it. Yes, he is the best, with Messi. He looks a fool now. This is 1-0. If you ask the German players, they'll tell you now what they thought of it. They would have noticed that. I tell you now, all of them will say it may have given us an extra bit of whatever to change things. What is he trying to achieve? Maybe this is where [Germany's comeback] started."
Dietmar Hamann on Cristiano Ronaldo’s showboating against Germany [RTE]
"He's a God. So often I want to climb into the TV and celebrate his goals with him because of how beautiful they are."
Samuel Eto’o on Lionel Messi [Super Deportivo]