“Great friend on and off the pitch, Carles Puyol, announced he’ll leave Barça in June!! Good luck, mate.”
Former Barca legend and multiple Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year winner Ronaldinho wished his former teammate good fortune on his official Twitter account after the Barça captain announced his departure at the end of the season. The two legends shared the same locker room in Camp Nou for five years where they lifted two La Liga titles and a historically massive second Champions League trophy in Paris.
“Messi is great, I don’t think he needs to win with Argentina to be great. Ronaldo is great, I don’t think he needs to be world champion with Portugal to be great. But Maradona did it and Zidane did it and Ronaldo Nazario and Rivaldo did it. Many of the big guys did it, so everybody’s waiting for them to do it.”
“Martino is doing very well at Barcelona. I like the way he speaks, always calm, he reminds me a lot of myself, he doesn’t go looking for controversy and does the best for his team.”
In an interview on Canal+, Real Madrid’s Italian head coach Carlo Ancelotti took the time to praise his rival Gerardo Martino’s way of handling himself as a coach. Rivalry aside, Ancelotti reminds the world of the great respect football’s biggest rivalry used to have for one another, unlike a certain Portuguese and his puppet.
“I tackled him because I thought I was still outside the box, but I don’t blame the referee. It all happened too fast. I have seen the moment again on TV and think ‘why did I have to tackle him and not keep running by his side?’ I was sure that I would get the ball when I made the tackle and then you think that you will steal the ball from Messi, you realise that you don’t, but I did make the foul.”
FIFA President Joseph Blatter usually puts his foot into his own mouth when he makes pronouncements involving Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. In a recent interview, he sidestepped both players and proclaimed that his favorite player of all time is Alfredo Di Stéfano. “Journalists and coaches and national team captains chose Cristiano Ronaldo this year. My favorite player is still Alfredo Di Stéfano.”
Di Stéfano was certainly a legend, but better than Messi and Cristiano? What do you all think?
“I know they are talking a load of nonsense about what I said, but I just want all culés to know that it’s only us [the team] and you all, and if we are not together, we will not again enjoy achieving our objectives. At the end of the day, Barça is everyone. I always do what I feel, right or wrong, that’s who I am.”
“Tito is a great football strategist. Hard worker, quiet and brave, having a good relationship with the players. His example is not only directed to the sports world, but the world at large, with dominion. A team needs a strong fighter. In this sense, Tito Vilanova has shown us many lessons. We wish you a luck you deserve. You are a champion of sport and life. In me you have a friend forever.”
- Jupp Heynckes, ex-coach of Bayern Munich speaking about Tito Vilanova at Mundo Deportivo Gala, February 3, 2014
“This is football from the nineteenth century. Too bad… Their goalkeeper saved a lot, but they had other players without gloves who saved a lot. They played with five defenders: they had more goalkeepers than defenders… (They were) pretending injuries. Cheating… I don’t know if that’s the right word. The goalkeeper taking time not after minute 70, but in the first minute. Ten defenders in the box, defenders not putting a foot outside the box. Very basic. But I’m nobody to criticize. They are happy… It’s very difficult to play a football match where only one team wants to play. Very difficult. A match is about two teams playing. This match was only one team playing, and another team not.”
“There are people who want something new, who are tired of Barcelona always winning, that Barca are always the best,” Cesc Fàbregas told Mundo Deportivo. “They want to win in other ways, or for someone else to mark the rhythm of world football. Leo Messi has been the best player in the world for many years, and now it seems when he is a little injured, or something comes out about him, he must be the bad guy. In football when you have many times been the best, there is a tendency for people to say negative things about one player, in order to praise another.”
“We always expect great things from him when he’s on the field because he is the best. But Leo has always been a great, not only for what he does on the field, but also off it.”
- Javier Zanetti, ex-Argentina captain, and Inter Milan legend gave his thoughts on Leo Messi in a documentary called “El Mundo Leo”.
“He’ll be in fantastic form for the World Cup. Xavi is a consummate professional, the best player in Spanish football. He represents a way of behaving, and a set of values. Spanish football and his club are both privileged to have him.”
- Fernando Hierro, ex-Real Madrid captain, dismisses the doubts going around in recent months about our maestro.
“We are keeping to the same philosophy. Maybe we have added a couple of things, but that is because every coach sees the game in a different way. We try to play well and get the points three by three. I’m not interested in the debate some people are trying to have – just let the numbers talk for themselves.”
– FC Barcelona goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto on the Barça TV programme “El Mirador”
“I’ve gone through a bad time, a really bad time. I’ve never been injured before and then I pick up one that rules me out for three weeks and now this one for six. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m feeling better every day and I’m eager to train and start playing with the rest of the team”.
-FC Barcelona player Jordi Alba
At a recent press conference, FC Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés was asked to appraise the sporting performance of his teammate Lionel Messi. The ever-diplomatic Valdés was somewhat reserved in his assessment of the Argentine star: “Messi is God. He is the best and will always be the best, for everything he has brought to this team and to me as a friend. I think Barcelona will always depend on him because he is the best player in the world.”
As you can see, Víctor Valdés does not beat around the bush.
Ex-FC Barcelona heart-throb [and striker] Javier Saviola weighed in on the debate about who should win the next Ballon d’Or: “I would love it if Messi were to win it for the fifth time. I would vote for Messi, but I bet Ribery will actually win the award.”
Javier “El Conejo” Saviola: brings back memories…