WF Quotes of the Week: Edgar Davids Retires, Lionel Messi Staying at Barca

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2013

WF Quotes of the Week: Edgar Davids Retires, Lionel Messi Staying at Barca

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    Despite the Christmas schedule adding a thick layer of snow to the mix, the football world hasn't stopped spinning over the past seven days.

    Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi feature in amongst this week's most memorable mentions, strangely both alluding to matters at the Camp Nou.

    On top of that, Edgar Davids has announced his retirement in controversial fashion, and Roberto Martinez has stated that one of his players isn't for sale, not even for a world record transfer fee.

    Read on for all that and more in the World Football Quotes of the Week.

Jose Mourinho: 'Arsenal Players Like to Cry'

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    In the fallout of Chelsea's 0-0 draw against Arsenal, Jose Mourinho labelled it as a "club tradition" for the Gunners to cry on the pitch.

    Throughout the years, the Premier League has become as diverse as any other of Europe's elite divisions, but Mourinho appears to be of the disposition that England's native players are a tougher specimen.

    Commenting on the fragile nature of his opponents, the Blues boss was reported by the Mirror's John Cross as saying of his opponents: 

    You know, they like to cry. That's tradition. But I prefer to say, and I was telling it to the fourth official, that English people - Frank Lampard, for example - would never provoke a situation like that.

    Players from other countries, especially some countries, have that in their blood if you have a contact or the opponent was aggressive. Foreign players are bringing lots of good things. They come here because they are talented. But I prefer English blood in football. English blood in this situation is: 'Come on, let's go.'

    It's undoubtedly encouraging for the manager to be so gung-ho in his pursuit of tough, clean football, but let's not forget this is a man who benefited from some questionable Didier Drogba incidents during their highly fruitful time together at Stamford Bridge.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 'You Can't Compare Men's and Women's Football'

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    Not for the first time this season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has risked landing himself in hot water.

    A gender controversy has erupted as a result of the Paris Saint-Germain star's comments on women's football, which he clearly feels are some way off the standard of their male counterparts'.

    Speaking to the Expressen newspaper this week (h/t the Guardian), Ibrahimovic said: 

    With all respect for what the ladies have done, and they've done it fantastically well, you can't compare men's and women's football. Give it up, it's not even funny.

    When I come out in Europe they compare me to [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. When I come home they compare me to a female player. With all respect for the ladies, they should be rewarded in relation to what they generate [financially].

    I was asked [by Swedish media] in the summer who was the better player, me or [Sweden striker] Lotta Schelin. You're joking with me, right? When I've broken all these records, this goal record, the goals in the national team, who shall I compare it to? Shall I compare it to whoever has the record, or the ladies?

    While one would find it difficult to find footing in the argument that women were generally equal to men in terms of football quality, it's easy to see why a woman might find Ibrahimovic's comments abrasive.

    One such figure who clearly falls under that category is Sweden's women's national team coach Pia Sundhage who, when speaking to Swedish outlet SVT (h/t the Guardian), reacted:

    [It's] boring and sad for Swedish football when a team captain puts it so. One time, he says that we are fantastic and then he thinks that we should have a bike. It feels like he is up and down in the article and it is unfortunately completely wrong, I think.

    I understand him when he says that [the men's] squad pulls in more money and exposure. But it's still about respect, we're doing the same stuff: it's football. Then, one should not compare men and women, it is quite impossible.

    Though the head-to-head wouldn't quite qualify as a "battle of the sexes" just yet, it appears there's a clear divide in opinion struck between two of Sweden's biggest football figures, gender being the split.

Roberto Martinez: Barkley Wouldn't Be Sold 'Even for Gareth Bale-Size Valuation'

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    Ross Barkley's breakout season continued over the Christmas period, with the Everton starlet bagging an 84th-minute winning free-kick at the Liberty Stadium.

    One person who was particularly happy to heap praise on his midfielder was Toffees boss Roberto Martinez.

    Just as he did at the DW Stadium, Martinez has adopted a stern approach when it comes to selling his stars at Goodison Park, and in an effort to ward off interest in Barkley's services, the Spaniard was quoted by David Maddock of the Mirror as saying: 

    Even if we got a Gareth Bale-size valuation we would never even consider it in January. Ross is an icon for us. He represents everything we are trying to do this season, so even if a stupid offer arrived in January it would never, never affect us.

    It is important for us as a football club to show we are making the right football decisions. There is no question mark over Ross’ future, he is in the best moment of his time and is everything we want a player to represent at Everton.

    There is not even a question mark against whether he is going to be here in February or not.

    At 20 years of age and with only 18 Premier League starts to his name, Barkley has already garnered a price-tag of more than £87 million if that's to be believed.

    No pressure, Ross.

Avram Grant on Management Drought: 'I Miss the Challenge'

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    Having left West Ham in 2011, it's been some time since Avram Grant has experienced the ups and downs (mostly down) of the Premier League rat race.

    Furthermore, the former Chelsea and Portsmouth boss hasn't held a management position since departing the helm of Partizan Belgrade in the summer of 2012.

    However, Grant is more than ready to get back in the saddle, it seems, and when appearing on Sky Sports this week, the manager took his opportunity to advertise his talents, saying:

    I like to be on the pitch and I like the contact with the players but I am now lecturing around the world about football. 

    I am learning a lot and it is good for me to be out of the game to recharge the batteries but I miss the challenge and the day-by-day (involvement) and I miss the fighting to achieve something.

    Grant's most recent memories of the English top flight aren't exactly fond ones, as it was he who led the Hammers to relegation during the 2010-11 season.

    However, the Israeli has had his share of brighter moments as a team leader, and the manager-less outfits of Cardiff City and West Brom may just be drawn in by the plea for a more exciting lifestyle.

Jorge Messi: 'Messi's Future Is Tied to the Future of This Club'

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    Lionel Messi's position at Barcelona has come under increased scrutiny of late, a supposed back-and-forth between the player and his club is alleged to have occurred over the topic of salary and a contract dispute.

    However, Messi's father Jorge has moved to clear the entire situation up, per Diario Ole (h/t Eurosport), proclaiming that his future and that of Barca's go hand-in-hand:

    I think that we need to close this chapter right now. The press shouldn't see anything else other than a direct response from Leo to Senor Faus' comments.

    What's done is done. We need to look forward, not backwards. When Leo says something it always creates a lot of headlines. We don't want him to generate any conflict with Barcelona, and least of all the Barcelona fans, to whom Leo, as a club professional, owes everything.

    No-one can deny that Leo is at Barcelona because of the love and feelings he has for that club. We are not trying to create any tension over this issue. If the club calls us, we will sit down with the directors. And with regards to Leo's future at Barcelona, the Barcelona fans should know that his future is tied to the future of this club.

    The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has gone through a rough year at the Camp Nou, mired by injury and a struggle to gain any sort of consistency.

    However, it's at times such as these that a player's will is tested to the extreme, and it appears as though Messi's commitment might remain in Barcelona nonetheless.

    Needless to say the forward's father is at least convinced as to where his future lies.

Luis Suarez Opens Up to Young Interviewer

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    Luis Suarez's recent history as one of football's more controversial figures has unsurprisingly led to a lot of awkward questioning being aimed in his direction.

    Even more understandably, the Uruguayan has therefore not proven to be the most open of interviewees in recent seasons, but that all changed for a budding Liverpool fan this past week.

    Organised by the club itself, Reds supporter Finn was given the chance to speak to Suarez in a one-on-one setting, via the club's YouTube channel, where the crucial topics of chocolate digestives, winning the Premier League with Liverpool, and the sentiments behind the striker's celebrations, along with much more.

    One particular gem came when Finn asked his club's talisman if he'd be able to "really, really, really try" in ensuring the Merseysiders come out on top of the English top flight this term, to which Suarez replied:

    It's my dream. It's my dream because I hope so to one day win the league, and win one big trophy with Liverpool.

    It's my dream and when I win that, I remember my family and then you because you tell me that.

    Bad reputation or not, even Suarez has a soft side.

Edgar Davids Retires, Saying: 'The League Is Targeting Barnet'

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    Having featured at the top level for almost 23 years, Edgar David has finally called time on his playing career, signing off as player-manager of Barnet.

    However, true to form, the Dutchman hasn't left the field quietly, and after receiving a third red card of the season this week, hinted that he's convinced that a prejudice exists against his side.

    After his club succumbed 1-0 at Salisbury City on Saturday, Davids was quoted by Adam Hewson of the Barnet & Potters Bar Times as saying:

    I think I know for definite now that the league is targeting Barnet. I don't know how many games we have played now but there is weird decision-making all the time.

    It is ridiculous, especially the first one (yellow card) because everyone can see I cleared the ball. That was an absolute disgrace. The other one for the red card was also a disgrace.

    I am a target but it is ok. I don't think I am going to play anymore because they are taking away the fun and I want the team to do well. The fun of playing in this league, I have just lost it.

    It seems awfully coincidental that Davids, a 40-year-old veteran past his playing best, should be attracting all the wrong attention, having been shown five red cards during his year-long stint with Barnet.

Jorge Mendes: 'Ronaldo Would Score 120 Goals a Season at Barcelona'

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    In super agent circles, Jorge Mendes is perhaps among the most well-known figures, boasting an address book of clients that would make Don King green with envy.

    And a key part of an agent's job is advertising their assets in the right light, one of, if not Jorge Mendes' finest being Cristiano Ronaldo.

    The Real Madrid superstar has already torn up the turf in a manner that only he's capable of during 2013 and heads into this January's Ballon d'Or ceremony as favourite for the award.

    However, Mendes is convinced the attacker would do even better were he at Barcelona, A Bola TV (h/t's Alec Fenn) reporting the Portuguese businessman as saying: 

    "Messi's goalscoring record? If Ronaldo played for Barcelona he would score 120 goals a season."

    If Mendes isn't careful, one might even interpret those comments as an insult to Ronaldo's teammates at the Bernabeu, with the ammunition supply at Barca perhaps being seen as of a higher standard.

    Take the quote as you might, but there's no mixed emotions over who Mendes feels is most deserving of being crowned 2013's best player.