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Friday, December 24, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: December 30, 12:37 PM UK
Quotes of the year

Robin Hackett

This year has seen Diego Maradona lead Argentina to the World Cup, Ian Holloway make his debut in the Premier League and Rafael Benitez reinvent himself as a poet. ESPNsoccernet puts together a selection of some of the year's finest quotes.

The philosophers

"Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in your own field. It's a fact. Right? And it never really works out that way" - Sir Alex Ferguson talks Wayne Rooney's language after the striker asked to leave Manchester United (October) "If Alex Ferguson is being bullied by a player and his agent, how wrong is the game? When are you going to listen to the people who are involved in the game? You buy a house, you own the deeds, it's paid for - if you're lucky enough to do that, it's yours. What if it's 24 years you had it for and then it can just toddle off and do what it likes? It's not right, is it? Some complete person, who isn't in the real world, in our realm, said if you're 24 - oh yeah, 24 - you can go off and do what you like. WHO IS THIS PERSON? HOW WRONG IS THAT?" - Ian Holloway gives his take on the Wayne Rooney affair (October) "We have a saying in Spanish, which is: 'White liquid in a bottle has to be milk.' The Americans, they chose a new managing director and everything changed. White liquid in a bottle. If I see John the milkman in the Wirral, where I was living, with this bottle, I'd say, 'It's milk, sure'" - Rafael Benitez finds a novel approach in his efforts to blame Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow for the club's fall from grace (October) "I think I know what he meant but wasn't sure. It must be a bet or something to come out and say those things" - Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is unaware of the Spanish saying 'White liquid in a bottle has to be milk' (November) "I think that Mr Hodgson, he doesn't understand. Every single press conference is even worse than the last one. He's talking about things that he doesn't know and some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar" - Rafael Benitez maintains his metaphorical approach as he attacks Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson (November) "He's like a make of ketchup or mustard to a normal person: not important" - El Hadji Diouf attacks former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher (December)

Pride before a fall

"Assurances have been made at the highest possible level. Arsenal do not expect those to be broken" - Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood assures fans Barcelona have no intention of moving for Cesc Fabregas in the summer (April) "What's the matter, Schweinsteiger? Are you nervoussshhh?" - Argentina boss Diego Maradona mocks Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger ahead of the teams' World Cup quarter-final meeting. He described the subsequent 4-0 defeat as "the most difficult experience" of his life (July) "Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better. I really fancy Joe for the [player of the year] award this season" - Steven Gerrard misplaces his confidence in new Liverpool signing Joe Cole (August) "I'm not suited to Bolton or Blackburn. I would be more suited to Inter or Real Madrid. It wouldn't be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time" - Sam Allardyce talks up his abilities three months before his dismissal at Blackburn (September) "The win at Almeria doesn't tell me anything. Let's see if Barca score eight goals against us on Monday!" - Barcelona did their utmost to live up to Cristiano Ronaldo's challenge in El Clasico (November) "There are three possibilities. First, 100% support for the coach and buy four or five players to build a stronger team. Second, carry on like this without a project, without planning, and go ahead with one person to blame. The third is to speak to my agent; reach an agreement" - Inter boss Rafael Benitez makes president Massimo Moratti an offer he can't refuse (December)

The diplomats

"I think what he does is a model for other managers around the world. It's a perfect model for all the kids as well. As for the style of football, even Barcelona are now copying his style" - Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez mocks Sam Allardyce after a 2-1 win over Blackburn (February) "Everyone in football knows what John Terry's like off the field" - Craig Bellamy criticises Chelsea captain John Terry after allegations of an extramarital affair with Wayne Bridge's former partner (February) "People in glass houses should not throw stones" - John Terry presents the obvious response to Craig Bellamy (March) "If I were him, I'd have left Mario alone, but Materazzi was attacking him and I was stunned. If Materazzi had attacked me like that, I would've decked him in a second!" - Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic lifts the lid on Marco Materazzi's response to Mario Balotelli after Inter's 3-1 Champions League victory at San Siro. Materazzi confirmed in December that Balotelli "got a slap and a shoe in the face" (April) "If before a match I made my team watch Gladiator, they'd start laughing or call the doctor asking if I was ill. Before the Coppa Italia final, I watched six Roma games to find their weak points, spending three hours on each at the computer running programmes that help my work. Of course, it's easier to just pick a movie to project before a match, but Ranieri has forgotten his players are champions and not children" - Inter boss Jose Mourinho mocks Claudio Ranieri's match preparations at Roma (May) "Nice to see your own fans booing you. If that's what loyal support is... for f***'s sake" - England striker Wayne Rooney delivers a message straight to camera as he leaves the field following an abject 0-0 draw with Algeria (June) "If it upsets him then I'm on the verge of saying, 'You know what? So what - I'm here to win it for England'" - John Terry is accused of trying to lead a mutiny after using a press conference to announce plans to confront England manager Fabio Capello (June) "Go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore" - Nicolas Anelka's alleged half-time rant at France coach Raymond Domenech during the 2-0 defeat to Mexico (June) "Walking around with books on slavery in glasses and a hat does not turn you into Malcolm X" - France defender Patrice Evra responds to Lilian Thuram's criticism of his role in the World Cup strike (August) "He should go on The Muppet Show. That man should be on a couch. Maybe someone would be able to help him there. Commit him - best to an asylum." - Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese reacts to Jens Lehmann's critical punditry (September) "Cruyff can go to hell! He is a nobody. I think Cruyff should be in a mental asylum with Guardiola, so they can sit there quietly and play cards together. They would be doing Barcelona a great favour" - Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent, Mino Raiola, continues to rebuild bridges with Barcelona (November) "It would be flattery to call you fans. You're just a bunch of dogs. You bunch of morons are the main reason why Chinese football can't make progress. You throw in stones after a man has fallen into a well" - Goalkeeper Wang Dalei takes to his microblog in response to criticism from Shanghai Shenhua supporters (November)

Love and relationships

"I prefer women. I am dating Veronica. She's 31 years old. She's blonde. She's beautiful" - Diego Maradona is shocked after being asked at a press conference about the 'love' he shows to the Argentina players (June) "I would not do three things if I had my time over. I wouldn't throw the Inter shirt to the ground, I would never again bite back at the fans, nor would I spend time with silly girls who just want to use me for publicity. I prefer to be alone than with such brainless people. Evidently I must be stupid as well, as I keep on finding these girls..." - Mario Balotelli admits his relationship decisions have not always been advisable (September) "Being at Boca was like having sex with the window open. I did my job but everywhere there were journalists with bad intentions, watching you. If it was up to me I would ban the media and ban telephones. This is a very sad day" - following his dismissal, Claudio Borghi uses a curious simile to describe life at Boca Juniors (November)

Medical matters

"They ate a very late lunch, barbecued chicken with spices and ended up taking indigestion tablets afterwards. I'm sure these four men fainted because of that and the physical effort they put in" - Ancash president Pepe Mallqui denies plying Acosvinchos players with horse tranquilizers (October) "I tried to tackle someone, stretched and relaxed myself and erm..." - Gary Lineker reveals he soiled himself during a World Cup game against Republic of Ireland in 1990 as he battled an upset stomach (December)

I fought the law

"Oh my god" - Uruguayan linesman Mauricio Espinosa's reported reaction after realising he should have awarded England midfielder Frank Lampard a goal against Germany (June) "What hand of God? It was the hand of the devil" - Ghana boss Milovan Rajevac feels Uruguay striker Luis Suarez crossed a line with the handball that denied the Africans a place in the World Cup semi-finals. Suarez was sent off but Asamoah Gyan missed the ensuing penalty (July) "David is filling up his sling again and I know where I want to aim it - straight at Mr Blatter. Why don't we all do it because this game is being ruined in the top flight? I haven't got any respect for anyone at the top of the game who does not understand that we need to use technology to stop these things happening" - Blackpool boss Ian Holloway makes his feelings clear to FIFA president Sepp Blatter (October) "I am sure it's a personal vendetta, but it is sooooooooooo stupid ... for it can have no effect on me personally or on anyone else in FIFA for that matter. In my personal opinion, it is deliberately designed to negatively impact on England's chances" - FIFA vice-president Jack Warner sends an email expressing his feelings on a Panorama corruption investigation ahead of the 2018 World Cup vote. England didn't win (November)

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