World Football Quotes of the Week: Rio Keeps Clothes on as CR7 Wins Ballon D'Or
It was a week that was always going to be dominated by the announcement of the Ballon d'Or winner, and sure enough plenty of world football figures had their say on Cristiano Ronaldo's triumph―his first one since his Manchester United days in 2008.
Ronaldo's personal triumph headlined a week in which plenty of big names were in the news, with Clarence Seedorf confirmed as the new manager of AC Milan and David Moyes forced to reflect on another miserable day at the office at Manchester United.
Here's the week in words:
Rio Makes a Bare-Faced Promise
On Monday, Rio Ferdinand had decided that his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo was the only worthy winner of the Ballon d'Or award for the second time in his career, and he took to Twitter to make an alarming promise.
If @Cristiano doesn't win the Balon [sic] D'or tonight.....I will run down the street butt naked! Won't be a great sight I tell ya!! Come on CR7!
Luckily, we were all spared the sight...
Ronaldo Clinches Glory and Breaks Down in Tears
Ferdinand's blushes were spared, and he clinched the award ahead of Lionel Messi at a star-studded event in Switzerland.
A tearful Ronaldo then gave a speech, saying, per the BBC:
First of all, I have to say a great thanks to all of my team-mates with the club and the national team.
Without all of their efforts, this would not have been possible. I am very happy; it is very difficult to win this award.
Everybody that has been involved with me on a personal level, I have to thank - my wife, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment. All I can say is thank you to everybody that has been involved.
Lionel Messi Magnanimous in Defeat
They famously don't get on too well, but Lionel Messi was quick to congratulate Ronaldo on his victory ahead of both him and Franck Ribery.
A magnanimous Messi said, via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
I want to congratulate Cristiano because he was the winner and deserved it.
[His tears] were normal, it is a very emotional moment.
I have nothing to say. I believe it was a good year for the three players, and that is why we were the three who were there. I have nothing to complain about, nor any excuses to make. It is a pleasure [just] to be here for a seventh consecutive year. It is very nice.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Tells Jurgen Klopp That He'd Join Dortmund for Free
He's used to playing in the yellow of Sweden, and judging by a conversation at the Ballon d'Or gala, Zlatan Ibrahimovic might soon be seen in the yellow of Borussia Dortmund too.
A light-hearted exchange with Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp on live television caught the imagination of the watching crowd, and it went like this, according to Yahoo Eurosport:
ZI: When are you bringing me to Dortmund?
JK: Oh please, I will have to sell the whole team.
ZI: No, I come for free.
JK: You come for free? [to the TV cameras] Did you hear what he said??
ZI: I’ll come for free to Dortmund. This [conversation] is not for the president of Paris.
Watch this space.
Manuel Pellegrini Thinks Big
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has targeted making history in his first season in England by guiding his team to all four trophies that they are currently competing for.
Speaking before his side's FA Cup third-round replay against Blackburn, which they went on to win 5-0, the Chilean said, per the BBC:
It's difficult [to win all four] but we'll try.
It's important to have the mentality.
We know that during the season, with injuries and the amount of games you have to play, it is very difficult.
That's why nobody has done it before. But I think we must have the mentality to try to do it.
Clarence Seedorf Starts a New Cycle at AC Milan
Sitting 12th in Serie A, AC Milan were in dire need of some inspiration to try and get their season back on track, and they've turned to Clarence Seedorf to try and provide it.
The legendary former midfielder ended his playing days with Botafogo in Brazil to take up the manager's position at the San Siro, and he immediately laid out his grand plan, telling The Guardian):
When he [Silvio Berlusconi] called me I couldn't say no. We have a lot to do to get the club back where it belongs and I'm very happy to be back here.
I feel very emotional and I also feel a sense of duty. I have to give 100% to rebuild, and to give enthusiasm and a sense of security. We can look to do important things for the fans.
I left Milan in May 2012 at the end of a cycle. My job now is to open a new one.
Playing Barca Is Like Going to the Dentist for Joaquin Caparros
The prospect of playing Barcelona three times in 10 days didn't excite Levante coach Joaquin Caparros too much when he was asked about it in midweek.
The former Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Mallorca manager was speaking about the prospect of facing Barca in both La Liga and a Copa Del Rey quarter-final in the next week-and-a-half, and his response suggested that he wasn't expecting a pleasurable experience.
Caparros said, according to InsideFutbol.com:
Playing against Barcelona three times is like going to the dentist.
Hopefully it won't be such a bad experience.
Caparros needn't have worried though as the expected drilling from Barca didn't occur in their La Liga meeting on Sunday night, which ended 1-1.
Lukas Podolski Finds an Easy Way to Please Arsenal Fans
Twitter question and answer sessions have quickly become an easy way for players to interact and connect with their club's fans, and Lukas Podolski wasn't going to let an easy opportunity to do just that pass him by.
As Metro relates, @Podolski10 (who actually wears No. 9) was asked:
If you had a choice would you rather play for Tottenham or retire?
To which he somewhat predictably answered:
His work here is done.
Brendan Rodgers Enjoys Liverpool's "Uruguayan Penalty"
A week ago, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers described the soft spot kick that Raheem Sterling won in his side's victory at Stoke as "a Spanish penalty" due to the unconvincing nature of it, i.e. a penalty given in La Liga.
After Rodgers watched Luis Suarez win a debatable spot kick in his side's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at Anfield, the Reds boss went a little further and jokingly described the award as "a Uruguayan penalty," per the Daily Mail.
Liverpool: Taking you around the world in 80 questionable decisions.
Moyes STILL Refuses to Concede Title, but Mourinho Does It for Him
After being comprehensively beaten 3-1 at Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester United manager David Moyes refused to react to yet another setback by throwing the towel in on the champions' title defence.
United are now 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal, and their manager is the only person who still believes they can clinch a 21st league crown.
He said, per the BBC:
What we don't do is throw the towel in until we can't get there.
The job is to try to finish first and we'll try to do that.
However, Chelsea boss Joe Mourinho then dished out a dose of reality to Moyes following the victory, which was inspired by a Samuel Eto'o hat-trick.
The Portuguese spoke a damning truth when he said:
I am sure David won't be upset with me if I tell the reality. It is a 14 point difference to Arsenal, then 13 to Manchester City and 12 to us.
They can recover to one of those teams but to recover three of them, it needs three teams to almost have a collapse, so the title will be difficult for them.