WF Quotes of the Week: Lionel Messi Hails La Masia, Massimo Cellino Blasts Leeds
Just prior to becoming Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer this weekend, Lionel Messi was kind enough to reveal precisely what it is that's made him the player he is today, earlier in the week.
The Barcelona forward bagged his 370th goal for the Catalan giants in the midst of his hat-trick contribution during a 7-0 win over Osasuna, signifying just how big of an impact Messi has had on the brand despite still being just 26 years of age.
However, that wasn't the only worthwhile comment made this week, as Massimo Cellino insulted the players of the very club he's about to become a majority shareholder of, and Jens Lehmann suggests that Bayern Munich wouldn't be quite so dominant in the Premier League.
All that and more in the world football quotes of the week.
1. Jens Lehmann: 'Bayern Wouldn't Go Unbeaten in the Premier League'
Bayern Munich are one of the strongest teams, if not undeniably the strongest, on the planet right now. That much is common knowledge.
However, former Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann says that the "boring" Bavarians would be exposed on a far more regular basis if they were in the Premier League.
Speaking to The Guardian (h/t The London Evening Standard's Doug Revolta) Lehmann said:
I have to say the challenges they are facing in the Bundesliga are not too high. Their opponents really don't know how to play them. They don't even find a way of trying. Bayern wouldn't go unbeaten in the English league. The depth of the Premier League in terms of quality is higher, even if it is not at the top any more.
Watching them is a little bit boring as well. They start playing around the back just in case they are pressurised and then slightly go forwards. It's not a pacey game going forward. They step forward bit by bit until they are in the final third and then they have great quality players who can make the difference.
It's a bold statement for the ex-goalkeeper to make, but not a completely original point in saying that the lower sides of the English top flight might challenge the lower sides of Europe's other top divisions more competitively.
That being said, Lehmann may have put a target on his back in some parts of his native Germany, nonetheless.
2. Rivaldo Announces His Retirement Via Instagram
One of the most celebrated players ever to don the Selecao jersey, Brazilian legend Rivaldo, announced his retirement from football at the age of 41 this week, via social image-sharing network Instagram.
The ex-Barcelona ace confirmed the news through an interview with his former club, via their official website, reiterating the note that came attached to his Instagram post:
With tears in my eyes today I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player. Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to the end. Just I have to thank the lovely career I have built over these years. There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointments, but were much greater joys, achievements, growth, change.
Sometimes teaching other learning but never lost my focus, always with dedication, determination and direction of God. In this long journey, many people passed through my life, some for a period, other friends who remain until now. I built my career upon a miracle, leaving in Paulista, no financial resources, no businessman, incentives only of my family, discredited by doctors and trainers, saw a distant dream come true.
With persistence, dedication and especially with the hand of God, I came to be recognized as the best player in the world, world champion, among many other important titles in the history of football. Among trophies, medals, awards and titles, in a land where everything is consumed, here I leave a story, perhaps an example, but surely a testimony that is worth believing and fighting. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Cor 9:25
Rivaldo stands as one of the most iconic football figures from the 1990s and early 2000s; winner of the 1999 Ballon d'Or and one of the main influences in Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph.
The torch is now passed to his son Rivaldinho, who plays for Brazilian Serie C side Mogi Mirim, of which Rivaldo is president.
3. Alan Pardew : 'I Think Anger Management Is an Avenue That Might Work'
Having had his fair share of touchline scraps down the years, Alan Pardew has admitted that now may be the time for him to seek out anger management.
The Newcastle United boss is currently serving a seven-match suspension for headbutting Hull City's David Meyler during a Premier League meeting between the two sides last week.
The Journal's Neil Cameron quotes Pardew as saying:
I've spoken to a few CEOs who have management counselling, in terms of how to do their job better. I think that is an avenue that might work for me. I have spoken to Richard Bevan (chairman of the League Manager’s Association) who has been a great help in terms of finding someone who is going to work for me and just bounce ideas off.
Not necessarily just about the touchline and the pressures of the job I’m under, just normal managerial decisions that I make. The big question for me when this incident happened is ‘how am I going to be a better manager out of it?’
There was no point for me to just accept the punishment. I thought I needed to tell the FA I’m going to do something about it. I think they wanted to hear that. Whether that will have any impact on the decision, I don’t know, but that was one of the key reasons I went.
It's certainly a mature move on Pardew's part if he follows through with it, but will he come out as serene as we hope on the other side?
4. Lionel Messi: 'I Am What I Am Thanks to La Masia'
Having broken Barcelona's all-time scoring record this Sunday in the 7-0 win over Osasuna, who better to take advice from than Messi when it comes to success?
The Argentinian says that he owes it all to La Masia, Barca's world-renowned academy and the first site of Messi' development in Catalan country.
Barca TV (h/t Football Espana) report the forward as saying:
Barcelona have given me everything. I was educated with the values of La Masia and I am what I am thanks to the values I learned in the youth setup. Seeing so many players from the youth setup in the first team is an example to everyone.
We’re always happy for the players who graduate and come to train with us. I want them to enjoy themselves, that’s what this sport is all about. If they work hard, make sacrifices and put in the effort, they can realise any dream they set themselves.
Even after claiming one of the highest achievements in club football, Messi is eager to heap praise on his most humble beginnings, remembering exactly where it all began for him—and that is precisely why he succeeds to the extent that he does.
5. Massimo Cellino on Leeds United Players: 'They're Chickens'
Massimo Cellino hasn't even officially taken ownership of Leeds United yet, but the Italian is wasting no time in getting comfortable in insulting his playing staff, it seems.
Pulling no punches, Cellino heaped criticism on his players in the wake of their 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Bolton Wanderers, per the Express:
"This was about the players. They were without pride and should be ashamed of themselves. They’re chickens and much better than this."
At least he finished with a compliment.
6. Daniel Sturridge Reveals Steven Gerrard's Nickname Is 'James Bond'
Daniel Sturridge has revealed that Steven Gerrard has a new nickname within the Liverpool camp—"James Bond," due to the fact that "he can do it all."
Sturridge has been playing alongside Gerrard at the club level for just over a year now, and The Mirror's Mike Walters has quotes as to exactly why this new moniker has come about:
"That’s what I call Steve Gerrard. He doesn't like it, but I call him that because he can do everything. On a day-to-day basis in training, you have to see it to believe what he can do with a football."
Liverpool fans will be all too aware of the kind of Gerrard antics that have brought about this new name, but Sturridge is evidently enjoying witnessing it first-hand, given how well the pair have gotten along in the last 14 months.
7. Andres Iniesta Reveals Loss of Child as Reason for Barca Absence
After being pulled from last week's Barcelona line-up to face Real Valladolid at the last minute, questions were raised around the reasons for Andres Iniesta's absence.
Sadly, the midfielder later confirmed via his official Facebook page (h/t Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football) that he missed out due to the loss of the child that he and wife Anna, seven months pregnant at the time, were expecting:
Good evening. On behalf of Anna, myself and our families, we can’t thank you enough for all of your support and affection over these last several days. My family and I are overwhelmed and infinitely grateful to all of you. There are difficult times and we thank you for respecting our privacy. We're certain that for up above, the little one will help us…Big hugs for everyone.
As one of not just Barcelona's, but the football community's most celebrated players of the modern era, Iniesta will have the thoughts of millions with him as he goes through this tough time.