World Football Quotes of the Week: Ferguson, Mourinho and Hodgson Shed Wisdom
In the media-driven sports world of today, it's often difficult for those in the industry to simply keep their opinions to themselves, and aren't we glad because of it?
In a managerial special, this week saw the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Roy Hodgson all come up with some intriguing points, ranging from decisions of past, present and future.
Legends looking back on their possible regrets, one world superstar claiming superiority over another and Uruguay's favoured son reveals the dream destination of his international strike partner.
All that and more in the quotes of the week.
1. Sir Alex Ferguson Told Abramovich “No Chance”
Only in retirement has Sir Alex Ferguson provided a definitive answer to a question that's rumbled around Premier League circles for some years now.
Speaking to Charlie Rose on PBS earlier this week, the Scotsman spoke about matters of both then and now, revealing that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich did indeed look to recruit him as manager, though he swiftly rejected his advances.
That wasn't all Ferguson opened up about, though, going on to give David Moyes his full backing despite the disappointing start that United have gotten off to in his absence. He noted, "United are in good hands with David Moyes. He will be fine. He’s a good manager."
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “Zlatan Scores Better Goals Than Him [Rooney]”
"The ball's up there, Zlatan."
Martin Rose/Getty Images
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has possibly the least effective yet strangely alluring recruitment technique in all of world football, combining an admiration for the target's talent while insulting them at the same time; a tactic I've chosen to dub "insultation."
Speaking earlier this week, the Swedish striker, sometimes known for his controversial remarks, looked to capitalise on any doubts that Wayne Rooney might have regarding his Manchester United future, welcoming a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
According to the Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Ibrahimovic stated:
When there was talk of Rooney joining us in Paris it was a prospect that excited me. I think he made it clear in the summer that he wanted a fresh challenge – and things have not been going so well for Manchester United this season.
If he still wants to move next summer, or in January, I would urge him to come and play with me in Paris. The only direction this club is going is up.
If he did join he would have to get used to the fact that Zlatan scores even better goals than him.
I'm not too sure that's the right method to win over a prospective teammate—just like telling a client that your sales pitch is more effective than their's isn't the way to go about expanding your list of business contacts.
In any case, Ibrahimovic continues to provide these pearls of wisdom on a frequent enough basis, and it's difficult not to love him for it.
3. Jose Mourinho: “I Hate Diving”
Never far from the spotlight himself, Jose Mourinho stepped forward this week to state that players he catches diving from within his own camp will be dealt with via "criticism."
The Telegraph's Ian Winrow reports the Chelsea boss as saying:
I have told the players many times, I hate it. It is very bad. And the search of a red card for another player is a disgrace. I haven’t dropped a player because of it, but being strong and critical, I did it, yes. I spoke about it with Drogba and Robben.
I am not saying I will drop someone. Maybe the player is very important for me and makes a mistake and maybe I don’t drop him. But I will strongly criticise him, yes. And if one day I win the game where I feel one of my players didn’t behave correctly, I will say it.
For one of the Premier League's—and indeed the world's—most-respected managers to come out against simulation is refreshing with the worldwide issue of diving something a lot of managers choose to stay quiet about.
Perhaps there is a case to say that the Portuguese could go one step further and indeed say that dropping a player could be suitable punishment for a player caught offending in this matter, but Mourinho's words could lead to progress nonetheless.
4. Edinson Cavani: Real Madrid Is Suarez’s “Dream Club”
"I could easily knit a jumper with these locks."
Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
Luis Suarez's proposed move to Real Madrid this summer was one of the higher profile transfer rumours that didn't end up coming to fruition, but the door's still open according to one of the player's closest international teammates.
Edinson Cavani, per the Daily Mail, has commented that while he may have showed an interest in the Gunners, Suarez was never serious about a move to Arsenal and that the Santiago Bernabeu is indeed his dream destination:
He is the most complete striker in England - and one of the most complete strikers in the world. Ability and confidence is no issue for him, he will score a lot of goals this season I am sure.
I am sure Liverpool fans are very happy Luis stayed - he will be a big player for them. I think Arsenal was not Luis's dream move, maybe if it had been Real Madrid then it would have been a different outcome - but of course Madrid were concentrating on a different target this summer.
It is his dream club - and a club he thinks is worth waiting for.
Just how reliable the PSG forward's words are is up for debate, but one would think that a fellow forward whom Suarez has spent the most time in the proximity of while on international duty has a decent idea of his teammate's motives.
For now, at least, the pint-sized poacher remains at Anfield and continues to help the Reds in finding the back of the net, but it would be folly to think that this storyline has reached its end just yet.
5. David Beckham Questioned Retirement Decision
In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson, David Beckham proclaimed that, although he isn't looking back, he wasn't entirely certain about the decision to retire from football earlier this year.
At 38 years of age, the veteran already far outlasted the average lifespan of a professional player, but there was the feeling that he could have gone further than his short-term stint as a PSG player:
A decision like that, I was always going to second guess myself. I was always going to question whether I was going to make the right decision or not. But I think you always do that as an athlete, you always feel like you can play on when you can’t. That’s the passion behind the athlete.
An altogether more depressing aspect about sports and its star athletes is that, some day, they all have a time when it must come to an end.
That being said, one mustn't forget the player's contributions from down the years as well as what Beckham might offer in his post-playing career.
6. Wenger “Disagrees Completely” with Wilshere’s Smoking
In the pursuit of the perfect athlete, smoking is somewhat of a taboo, especially among English circles where cigarettes aren't as common among players as they might be in other European countries.
So, when it came out earlier this week that Jack Wilshere had been photographed puffing outside a London nightclub, Arsene Wenger, one of the Premier League's sternest managers when it comes to personal health, was slightly upset.
The Daily Mail reported on the matter, with Wenger stating:
First of all, when you are a footballer you are an example, and second, you don’t do what damages your health. You can damage your health at home. You can drink at home but nobody sees it, but when you do it in public, you damage your reputation as well.
What will I say to him? I will leave that between him and me.
Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Zinedine Zidane and Mario Balotelli have all been caught up in smoking controversies down the years, showing that the habit is far from dead in football circles.
However, that doesn't change Wenger's approach to the matter and I, for one, wouldn't want to be in Wilshere's considerably talented boots right now.
7. Robbie Fowler Backs Sturridge/Suarez Partnership
During his nine years as a Liverpool player, Robbie Fowler shared the Anfield striking spotlight with a number of talented attackers.
So for the Kop legend to say that he sees a great deal of potential in the burgeoning relationship between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez is a great compliment to the pair, which is enjoying an extremely fruitful period in front of goal.
In his Daily Mail column, Fowler speaks of his admiration for the two-man attack that Brendan Rodgers has crafted in his tenure, which steps away from the lone frontman tactic that's become so fashionable of late:
Look at the first goal Suarez scored at Sunderland. He peeled off the back as Sturridge received possession from Steven Gerrard and pointed to where he wanted the ball played. He spread panic among Sunderland’s defenders and Sturridge did what was required when giving the perfect pass.
If that continues to be the case, the promising signs Suarez and Sturridge have shown so far could see them have a strike rate like some of the greats that have gone before. I will certainly enjoy watching their progress.
"God" scored more than 180 goals for Liverpool and is a considerable figure to have in your corner as a striker looking to succeed in front of the Kop these days, making for good inspiration for the club's latest attacking duo.
Hodgson on Adnan Januzaj: “We Have Our Eyes on Him”
On his first start for Manchester United, Adnan Januzaj managed to net a brace for the Red Devils and almost single-handedly earn his team three crucial points after going down at Sunderland.
As a result, it's only natural that managers prick their ears up around the midfielder's supposed availability, one of whom being England boss Roy Hodgson.
Saturday night saw Hodgson become the first England manager to appear on Match of the Day, where he revealed his interest in the Belgian starlet (h/t TheFA.com):
He's been with United for a long period of time and of course that discussion will have to be seriously debated before we start naturalising players.
There's no doubt that he's a real talent and we have our eyes on him, but a lot will have to be discussed. But down the line, if he becomes naturalised or if he becomes a 'homegrown' product, we’d be interested.
Januzaj currently qualifies to play for Belgium or Albania but, per the FIFA guidelines, would need to have "lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 in the territory of the relevant Association."
Considering he only turned 18 in February and would need to refrain from making an international appearance elsewhere for another four-and-a-half years, it's unlikely Hodgson will ever get his man.