Saturday 06 April 2019, 08:54

The Week in Quotes

"In theory, it's a sacrilege. You can't say it and I don't believe it. I think people say ‘he is God’ just as they say ‘I adore you’. You have to adore only God. It's expressions that people use. This is a god with the ball on the pitch. It's a popular way that people have of expressing themselves. Of course, it is a joy [to watch Messi play]. But he is not God." Pope Francis answers journalist Jordi Evole's question on television programme La Sexta: Is it a sacrilege to refer to Lionel Messi as 'God'?

"In the Champions League, Sergio Ramos. He's a great centre-back, not just defensive, even with the ball. In the Bundesliga, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, that was always a challenge and not easy to play [against]." Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski reveals the most difficult defenders he's faced in an interview with kicker

"It was really close [to a hat-trick]. I should have scored. I promised my son three goals, and because of a bad pass, I didn't give three goals to my son." LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he fell just short of a promise he made with his son, following his side's 2-1 win over Portland Timbers

"He is not yet the king. He is undergoing tests to become the king. He still has a lot of steps ahead of him. He is young, he has just started. In football, you do not always know everything. There is always something to learn. He can always improve his game, his movements. If I can give him advice, it's taking care of his body and looking after himself. The technique, he already has it. The physical aspect is the most important thing for an athlete today." Pele talks about Kylian Mbappe, the only other teenager to score in a FIFA World Cup™ Final, in an interview with Le Parisien

“I would put Senegal at the top because it is my country and I hope they win the title but there are many other good teams – Egypt will be at the forefront with Morocco and Nigeria. Egypt is the strongest candidate for me because they will play in their own country with a lot of fans and they have very good players led by Mohamed Salah. He's a very decisive player and has a full country behind him.” Two-time African Footballer of the Year El Hadji Diouf told Goal that he believes Egypt are the favorites in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations

"It is true that I recently tweeted that I chose Messi, but I value highly what Cristiano has done. He is a great player. Messi has more talent, Cristiano is more of a goalscorer, more ambition, he is a self-made player." Real Madrid legend Guti clarifies his opinion on the differences between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

“I told the England guys a week ago that [they] should win the Euros. I think they are favourites, with France. I see the guys already established, and those coming up, so the future looks really good. Will they win it? I don’t know, because only one team can win it, but you have a chance to do well in the next ten years.” Though his Red Devils sit atop the latest FIFA Ranking, Belgium playmaker Kevin De Bruyne believes the future is bright for England

“[Jadon Sancho] is a gifted player, very fast, technically perfect, he always has a trick up his sleeves. He reminds me of the young Franck Ribery, who was also very tricky and going for goal as a young player. Sancho is like that and he also has the speed to make a name for himself in international football.” Speaking to Omnisport, former Borussia Dortmund head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld offers a flattering comparison between the England youngster and the Bayern Munich star

"In part, I think we need to forget the tiki-taka, which belongs to another generation, and redefine our style. What the boss is looking to do is to maintain the possession game we all know and combine it with a more direct type of football and new concepts he is introducing, tailored to the players he brings in." Iago Aspas explains how Spain are evolving with Luis Enrique in an exclusive interview with

“I knew that the door was somewhat cracked over the years, just waiting for a second chance. I knew that as long as I could get a toe in the door then I’d really take my opportunity and run with it. I just needed that one phone call and that opportunity to be back, so this is it.” After two years out of the mix for the United States, 34-year-old defender Ali Krieger was called in for a pair of friendlies and could be a late USA inclusion at France 2019