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The year 2018 in quotes

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"You always have dreams when you start playing football. I’m the type of person who always wants to be the best, so it’s only natural that I dreamed one day I would come this far, and thanks to God here I am now. It’s what I’ve worked so hard for. I pushed myself and believed in myself, even in difficult times. I’ve also made it this far thanks to my team-mates, my family and my friends."
The Best FIFA Men's Player 2018 winner Luka Modric speaks in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com after the awards ceremony

"Thank you, my God, for this life you gave me, family, friends and my first profession. After almost three decades dedicated to football, I say goodbye to my biggest dream, dream come true. I did what I most loved professionally for 20 years, and ten as a basic training. I lived intensely this dream of children, every moment, trips, victories, defeats, the review, national anthem, the walk in the tunnel, dressing room, field entrance, the soccer shoes I used, the good and bad balls, tributes I won, the stars that I played, those that admired and played and those that only played in the play, but I admire until today!"
Ronaldinho writes a farewell message after his retirement from football was confirmed in January

"I have learned that the biggest stars and the greatest players are the most humble ones, the ones who respect people the most. There are three criteria: respect, humility and lucidity. My mother has always told me that to become a great football player, you must be before all a great man."
Kylian Mbappe, winner of the FIFA Young Player Award at Russia 2018, in an interview with Time Magazine

“And now I get to walk out on the pitch in my hometown, and I always get goosebumps because I think, ‘This is where the greatest player in the world played. This is where Maradona played.’ With all due respect to Ronaldo, now that I am older, and I know my history, I have to repent and say that Maradona is the greatest who ever lived. Mr. Ronaldo, you had great boots. You were a genius. You were my inspiration. But I am a Neapolitan, and so I have to say that there is only one king, and his name is Diego.”
Lorenzo Insigne writes about his football idol in The Players’ Tribune

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson records a video to thank friends, family and the world football community for support while he underwent surgery for a brain haemorrhage

Leicester City pay tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabh​a at the King Power Stadium

"Wherever you are now, keep on defending our goal and enlighten the right path for us from the backline. Oh captain, my captain. Forever, my captain."
Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Saponara says farewell to the late Davide Astori

"After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support forever."
Arsene Wenger on leaving Arsenal after 22 years as manager in a written statement on the club's official website

“With Mbappe we joke and often laugh together, he always tells me: 'Never in my life could I have imagined playing one day with you?' He saw me play in the 2006 World Cup [Final] against France, when he was a boy. I faced him in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2017. In Turin I left my teammates who were also champions and I found new ones here in Paris: they too are champions."
Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon on Kylian Mbappe, in conversation with France Football

"In the end, football is a long trip. You win. You lose. You embarrass yourself. You make mistakes. You laugh, you cry. You do dumb things to pass the time. Maybe you and your teammates even set an assistant coach’s motorcycle on fire (before buying him a brand new one, of course … I’ll leave that story for another time!) Hopefully, you grow from a boy to a man. This is what makes sports beautiful, for me. It’s all just one long story."
Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique writes in The Players' Tribune

"It was one of the most poignant moments of the night. To receive applause from a stadium like this, which has been graced by great players, is a unique experience. When I was a kid, I liked Juventus and the fact that their fans have clapped me will stay with me."
Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after being applauded by Juventus's supporters in Turin after scoring with a bicycle kick in Real Madrid's 3-0 win in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Burnley manager Sean Dyche shares a lesser-known anecdote from his playing days

"This kind of offer you do not refuse. It will be my honour to come to Croatia. After the match, I feel connected with your country and I was supporting you in the World Cup final."
AFP photographer Yuri Cortez accepts an invitation by the Croatia National Tourist Board (HTZ) to visit the country after he captured Croatia's goal celebrations in their semi-final win over England at Russia 2018 while being crushed by Mario Mandzukic and his team-mates

France midfielder Paul Pogba gives a pre-match speech in the Luzhniki Stadium dressing room ahead of France's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the FIFA World Cup™ Final in Moscow in footage recorded by TF1

"After a match like that it doesn’t really sink in. Believe me though: I’ll be the first to buy the jersey with the two stars."
France forward Antoine Griezmann after winning the FIFA World Cup™

Carlos Carvalhal brought a lot of colour to his interviews during his time at Swansea City

"We hadn’t qualified for the World Cup in 28 years. It was a special moment for me and for all Egyptians. But to qualify in that manner…The world’s greatest film director would struggle to come up with an ending like that. I want that [qualification] to become the norm, not something only experienced every 28 years."
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah speaks with GQ Middle East about helping Egypt qualify for Russia 2018

"My biggest mistake was believing that we would get through the group stage with this possession-based football. The overall conditions weren't right for us in those games. It was almost arrogant of me. I wanted to take it to the limit and perfect it."
Germany head coach Joachim Low reflects on his side's group stage exit at Russia 2018

"I am happy for Toronto because they will be remembered as my 500th victim."
LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring the 500th goal of his career, speaking with TSN

"I don’t train harder than other players, but I will say this: every day that I go to training, I want to be the best there. I want to shoot the best, I want to run the fastest, I want to head the ball the best, I want to be the first to every ball. I want other people to look at me and think ‘why does she still have such a desire after all that time in football and after winning so many things?’ Because I know that by projecting this attitude and searching this out, that I will find something new to learn every day."
The Best FIFA Women's Player 2018 Marta talks about what it takes to stay at the top, in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com

"It’s indescribable. I can’t begin to tell you what it feels like because I don’t know myself. This is a special moment, absolutely one-of-a-kind and we know that what it means for girls all over the world for Spain’s women’s football, this is massive."
Spain coach Tona Is after leading her country to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup trophy for the first time

"I already complimented (Kylian) Mbappe last year, saying he was a great player. He won the World Cup at 19, I was only 17 years old when I won it. I said to him that he could equal me, I think he can become the new Pele. A lot of people think I said that as a joke, but no, it's not a joke!"
Three-time FIFA World Cup™ winner Pele believes French star Kylian Mbappe can emulate his illustrious career

“I'm telling you the amount of sacrifices we've made - the staff, the players - for the country, we're going to change the culture back home. How they perceive women, it's changed. It’s a big sacrifice. And you know what? Those 20 girls decided they were going to make the change. It’s amazing right now. Not too many words can be said."
Jamaica women's head coach Hue Menzies after the Reggae Girlz secured a historic first FIFA Women's World Cup qualification

"Football is one of life’s great teachers. It is one of life’s great inspirations."
Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, writing for The Players' Tribune

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