WF Quotes of the Week: Mind Games for Mourinho, Fish and Chips for Messi

Laura Greene@@Greene_LFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2014

WF Quotes of the Week: Mind Games for Mourinho, Fish and Chips for Messi

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    A week in English football would not be complete without what we've come to know as "mind games."

    In a roundup of the week's best quotes, we see Arsene Wenger taking a swipe at Jose Mourinho who, true to form, swipes right back.

    There's also Mario Balotelli, who admits he'd like to be more of a "bad boy," Toni Kroos, who is warned not to "play poker" with Bayern Munich, and Lazio, who insist one of their players is much younger than he looks.

    With all that and more, read on for some of football's best soundbites from the last seven days.

Balotelli: 'I Miss English Fans'

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    In an interview with FourFourTwo (via Skysports.com) this week, Mario Balotelli played down his bad-boy image while admitting he misses some aspects of life in England.

    The former Manchester City striker said:

    Me, a bad boy? I would like to be more bad.

    I miss England's fans, while I do not miss the food, or the weather, or the manner of driving a car.

    But fans of City, yes I miss them. But the AC Milan fans are fantastic too. Most of my memories about Manchester are happy because I enjoyed it there.

    It was not a shock for me to move to England and there is not a big difference between the two clubs.

    Prepare yourself for a deluge of transfer gossip linking the 23-year-old with a return to the Premier League.

Suarez: 'Evra Case Was False'

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    Tim Hales/Associated Press

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez ruffled a few feathers this week when he reopened a can of worms concerning his racism row with Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

    The Uruguayan striker told Sport890 AM (via The Guardian) that he was wrong to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season but claims that he has "no regrets" over any other incidents. He said:

    Let me tell you, I've made only two mistakes in my career. My first was when I was playing for Ajax and I bit an opponent. My second was when I bit [Branislav] Ivanovic [against Chelsea].

    The case with Evra was all false. I was accused without proof. But that's in the past. I was sad at that moment, but I'm happy today. I have grown up. I have thought more about things before doing them.

    Now people in England can't talk about me because I'm not doing anything wrong. They have to talk about me only as a footballer. I said I'm sorry [after the Ivanovic bite] and that was all, end of story. I've nothing else to regret. All the other things were like a movie that people in England believed in.

    Suarez was found guilty of using racist language toward Evra in 2011, seen here on BBC Sport

Roberto Mancini: Felt 'Betrayed' by Manchester City

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Galatasaray boss Roberto Mancini hit out at former employers Manchester City this week, accusing the club's chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, of acting like "Judas" when he was dismissed in 2012-13.

    The Italian manager lost his job at the Etihad at the end of last season, just 12 months after winning the Premier League with City. He claims that the Manchester side was looking for his replacement long before he was shown the door.

    In an interview with the Sun on Sunday (subscription required), Mancini said:

    I know a lot of people in football and I found out afterwards that they were talking to three or four managers in February, March and April. I know they were talking to Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, and these were the same people I was sat down with for dinner before the FA Cup final.

    It was like Judas. I trusted the chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak 100 percent, but not those other two guys. Probably he just followed them.

    Some people just don't have the courage to talk face to face. Even Khaldoon did not tell me to my face what was happening. He could not just come up to me and say 'we did four years together, we won everything, we are happy, but now the job is finished'.

    Instead they were working behind my back and sacked me two games before the end of the season. I did not even have the chance to say goodbye to the Manchester City fans.

     

Messi, Manchester and Fish and Chips

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    Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    Fans of Manchester City, Lionel Messi might be on his way to the Etihad. If Pablo Zabaleta can tempt him to England with fish and chips...

    Ahead of City's Champions League showdown against Barcelona, the Argentine defender told the Telegraph's Jason Burt: 

    Whether he would come to Manchester City, we will see. I would like to show him around. Maybe I could take him out to Didsbury and we could have some fish and chips. I think he would like that.

    You always expect the best players to be in the Premier League, because it means they will make this league even better and I think every single player in the world always wants to come to the Premier League. So we'll see.

Mourinho and Wenger: A War of Words

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    It's been hard to escape the war of words that broke out between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week.

    Their latest bout of mudslinging began on Friday, when Wenger declared that the Premier League title was "Chelsea's to lose." As seen in this report by the Mirror's Alan Wilson, the Frenchman said:

    It (title race) is very open. Only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it.

    If you're not in the race you cannot lose it, if you declare yourself not in the race you cannot lose it, simple as that.

    Mind game or not, the Blues manager responded in classic Mourinho style. Ahead of their FA Cup tie on Saturday and reported by Paul Handler in the Manchester Evening News, he said:

    He is a specialist in failure. I'm not,

    If supposedly he is right and I'm afraid to fail, it's because I haven't failed many times. Maybe he's right. Maybe I'm not used to failing.

    The reality is he is a specialist. Eight years without a piece of silverware, that's failure. If I do that at Chelsea, eight years, I leave London and I don't come back.

    Ouch. 

'When the Seagulls Follow the Trawler…'

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    "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

    We've been here before, circa 1995, with Eric Cantona. It's one of the most famous phrases ever to be uttered by a footballer.

    This week, it made a reappearance with Shia LaBeouf. Promoting his latest film Nymphomaniac in Germany, the actor used the immortal lines before storming out of his press conference.

    It was better when Cantona said it, wouldn't you agree?

     

Higuain: 'I Want to Be King of Naples'

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Gonzalo Higuain has declared that he wants to follow in Diego Maradona's footsteps—by winning the World Cup with Argentina and the Scudetto with Napoli.

    The striker joined the Naples side from Real Madrid last summer and has scored 12 goals in 22 Serie A games this season.

    This week, the 26-year-old told Corriere dello Sport (via Goal.com) that Maradona's past success with club and country is his inspiration.

    This is an important moment for me and for my career.

    I want to do what Maradona did: first win the World Cup and then the Scudetto. He triumphed in Mexico with Argentina in 1986 and, a year later, he made Napoli go crazy.

    If I could do this it would really be the ultimate dream. I want to stay in Naples for a long time - here I'm going to be a king.

Kroos Should Not 'Play Poker' with Bayern Munich

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Rumoured Manchester United target Toni Kroos has been warned not to "play poker" on contract negotiations with Bayern Munich by the club's former midfielder Mehmet Scholl.

    Reported by Colin Harvey in the Daily Star, Scholl said:

    I think it's not wise for Toni to play poker too much with Bayern.

    That's how it seems at the moment. His current wages are enough for him to have warm food on the table twice a day already!

    This follows reports that emerged earlier this week that suggest that Kroos is one of Bayern's lowest earners. According to German newspaper Bild (via the Mirror's Paul Gorst), Kroos is angry at the disparity in wages at the Allianz Arena.

     

Lazio on Joseph Minala: 'He Is Not 41'

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    Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

    This week Lazio threatened legal action against anyone who claimed the legitimacy of the true age of Joseph Minala.

    The Cameroonian player is said to be 17 years old, and Lazio maintain the authenticity of his birth certificate, as seen on BBC Sport

    However, the player has been the subject of reports that claim he is older than he declares himself to be.

    Who knows how old Minala is? However, the following quotes are certainly among the strangest we've seen  this week. As reported by Corriere dello Sport (via the Guardian), club president Claudio Lotito said:

    Minala deserves respect as a human-being, first and foremost. Everything that has been said about him is false.

    We forget the efforts that those like him have had to make. He has come from a difficult situation and has done everything he could to be a success.

    They say he looks 40, but how can they say that? How many people have a baby face but are actually older than they seem?

    And tell me how a 40-year-old could play in a Primavera [youth team] game and last the distance? The system has been poisoned by those looking to exploit creatively written news.

Everton Fan Puts Dream Game 'On Hold'

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    The most heartwarming quote of the week comes in the form of a tweet.

    Malaysian Everton fan Ric Wee travelled 7,000 miles to see his team play for the first time this week after 30 years of support.

    When he arrived at Goodison Park, he tweeted: "Finally, 30 years since supporting @Everton, will b watching EFC "live" for 1st time."

    Unfortunately for Mr. Wee, the game against Crystal Palace was called off an hour before kick-off.

    Minutes later, he tweeted again: "Sadly Everton v Palace match called off due to bad weather. Dream to watch EFC play will continue to be on hold."

    When Everton were alerted to Mr. Wee's disappointment, they found him inside the ground and took him to meet Toffees manager Roberto Martinez and the club's players.

    Wee became an instant Internet sensation and found himself in all the next day's newspapers. 

    "Today @Everton just prove again that its the People's Club taking extra effort to connect with fans. Salute the people running the club," tweeted Wee afterward.