5 Funniest Quotes of 2012: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Balotelli and Others
The world of professional football can be practically guaranteed to make supporters delirious with joy at one moment, and plumb the depths of despair the next—but thanks to the individuals within the game, at times, it's a pretty funny old world too.
From ill-advised comments to just your standard mad-cap characters, there is always plenty of humour to be found around the game.
Ian Holloway has long been a favourite of fans of English football, for example, for his terrific one-liners and press conferences—though, he doesn't feature in this particular list. Perhaps he didn't find too much funny about being relegated from the Premier League this year.
Nevertheless there are plenty of others who were kind enough to provide amusing sound bites—here are five of the best from 2012.
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The ever-modest Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a big-money move from Serie A side AC Milan to Ligue 1's Paris St. Germain in the summer and in typical Zlatan-style ensured everybody knew the upcoming season would be about himself.
Having already played in Sweden, Holland, Italy and Spain, Ibrahimovic has so far been a big hit in France as well by tallying 18 league goals in just 16 matches, with his team PSG sitting top of the table at the halfway stage.
Zlatan's best quote of the year came shortly after joining the Parisian team, as he quickly proclaimed himself the biggest player in the league:
It's true that I don't know much about the players in Ligue 1 but for sure, they know who I am.
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In fairness, Mario Balotelli could have a quotes of the year competition by himself, but perhaps his most outrageous and, in context, funniest came before the Euro 2012 competition in the summer.
Balotelli has never been shy about speaking his mind, and in the face of possible issues of racism over in Poland and Ukraine during the summer tournament, the Manchester City striker was perfectly clear on what his reaction would be.
Presumably slightly tongue-in-cheek though his comment was, an ired reaction would be fully justified—though, thankfully, such instances were rarely noted during the tournament anyway. It's probably fair to say that should any lunatic be considering directing a stream of venom at any player, Balotelli is probably one they'd be wise to avoid.
If [racism] does happen I would leave the pitch and go home. Racism is unacceptable to me, I cannot bear it. We are in 2012, it can't happen. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him.
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You can decide for yourselves just how hilarious this quote is.
Joey Barton, that's the on-loan to Marseille Joey Barton who was not wanted by QPR after sparking a brawl on the final day of last season and earning himself a 12-game ban, believes himself to be highly intelligent—too intelligent for the game that earns him a fantastic living.
Yes, that's the same Barton who spent time in prison for common assault and affray, put out a cigar in a young teammate's eye, beat up another teammate on the training ground and punched an opponent in a Premier League match.
Very clever, Monsieur.
Perhaps I shouldn't say it, but I'm maybe a little too intelligent to be a footballer.
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Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive, according to Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson.
That is the Scottish manager's hilarious assessment of Ashley Williams' obvious and ridiculous booting of the ball against the Dutch striker's head from close range at the weekend.
Idiotic and seemingly intentional though it was, Ferguson went ludicrously over the top in proclaiming it worse than—oh how short the selective memory can be—Eric Cantona's attack on a supporter, an owl being kicked to death or an assistant referee being beaten to death by youth players.
Nobody should argue Ferguson, and Van Persie of course, should be irate at Williams for his act of stupidity, but to suggest it is so dramatically worse than much else that goes on in the world of football borders on negligence.
That was the most dangerous thing I've seen on a football field for many years. It was absolutely deliberate. The whistle has gone, the game has stopped and he has done that right in front of the referee, he could have killed the lad. It was a disgraceful act.
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The former Hull City and Fulham midfielder lost his battle with injury recently and had to retire, and even as his career came to an undramatic close he still had a couple of last pearls of wisdom to share.
Talking to the Guardian about his pending retirement and the world of football in general, Jimmy Bullard stumbled across the topic of the England national team's players' code of conduct and was none too happy about it.
Bullard has something of a reputation as an easy-going kind of guy and clearly thinks that the same rules should apply all-round, especially with regards to social media—it would certainly make for interesting viewing to see some of his conversations on Twitter if things weren't going his way as a manager of a club!
Just let them get on with it. Tweet what you want. Get on Twitter and slaughter some fans and see how they like it, because they're allowed to slaughter us.