Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams

The end of another year is always an apt time for reflection. Unless, of course, you're Jurgen Klopp, who had no interest in celebrating his first anniversary as Liverpool boss.

"I'm a year older and all this s***," the German grumbled in October. "We will not celebrate, I can tell you that! Hopefully nobody brings me a cake! I have no time and I am not in the mood for reflection."

Here at Goal, though, we always like to take stock at the end of the year and look back upon what's gone before. We're even bigger fans of picking out the most memorable quotes of the past 12 months to remind ourselves just how amusing, entertaining, repugnant and poignant 'The Beautiful Game' can be.

Enjoy!


ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR


"Some people say that to speak of betrayal is exaggerated, but I think the opposite because there is the full sense of betrayal in this choice because of the ingratitude shown."

- Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis may be a film producer but he is not one for melodrama, as he proved with his take on Gonzalo Higuain leaving for Juventus

"I don't know about the other results [in the Premier League] at this moment, but I heard Bayern lost: HAHAHAHAHA!"

- For Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp doesn't even bother hiding his enduring affection for first love Mainz, with victory over Manchester City proving secondary to the news that his former club had beaten Bayern Munich

"It all started when we were together in South Africa and I wrote to her. She was already there because she sang in the opening ceremony, and I asked her what the weather was like. It is the typical stupid question, and the normal answer is to tell me to bring a jacket. But she started telling me what the weather was like in every single moment and it got to the point where I told her we would have to get to the World Cup final to see her again."

- Gerard Pique confirms the long-held theory that footballers don't have to be witty to attract beautiful women

"It is not in the books that somebody has to grab with the hair and pull from behind - only in sex masochism; then, it is allowed."

- While addressing an incident involving Marouane Fellaini and Roberth Huth, former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal conjures up an image that will haunt our dreams for the rest of our lives...

"This is his revenge. And it is personal, not professional... Pep smiles at you. He makes you believe he is your best friend - and then he betrays you."

- Yaya Toure's agent, Dimitri Seluk, who has clearly never read 'How to make friends and influence people', accuses Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola of holding a grudge against his client dating back to their time together at Barcelona.

"She asked me if I could buy a new iPad in the US, as it wasn’t available yet in Italy at that time. That episode, however, made me think. Did Wanda really want that tablet, or was she seeking an excuse to get in touch with me?"

- Mauro Icardi shows that he is not as dumb as he looks - or acts - by revealing in his autobiography that he suspected very early on that Wanda Nara, the wife of his former friend and team-mate Maxi Lopez, was interested in an upgrade

"I don't talk about traitors."

- The game's moral guardian, Diego Maradona, weighs into the Icardi-Wanda-Lopez love triangle

"You use a child to justify yourself and throw mud in our faces. You're not a man. You're not a captain. You're just a vile piece of sh*t."

- Inter fans also turned on Icardi, after he wrote about standing up to the club's ultras in his autobiography, which his bosses inexplicably decided against proof-reading

"Desire. It is a great word. I often use the word 'horny' with my players."

- Yes, Van Gaal again; who else?... Hard not miss him, though!


LOVE HIM OR LOATHE HIM?


"I couldn't care less about what Xavi says about me. He plays in Qatar or I don't even know where. He's won every collective trophy, including a World Cup and the European Championship, but he's never won a Ballon D'Or."

- Ronaldo proves once and for all that he has his priorities right

“It's funny. Because shortly after the final, while I was on vacation in Miami, I met Antoine Griezmann in a restaurant where he was dining with his fiancee. He came over to my table and said with a sly smile: 'Cristiano, I hate you!'"

- Cristiano Ronaldo reveals that Griezmann lost two finals against him this year - but not his sense of humour

“It was really, really glamorous. We just went to my house and drank cups of tea and watched 'Only Fools and Horses'. Genuinely!"

- In discussing her first date with Ronaldo back in 2007, actress Gemma Atkinson reveals that there was a time when the Portuguese was a man of simple pleasures with a good sense of humour

"If the whole team was on my level, we'd be first."

- Ronaldo gives his views on Real Madrid's Liga woes in February. And people have the cheek to say that he's not a team player...

"They put the bus in the net so it’s difficult when one team don’t try to play football and try to win the game. They celebrated like they had won the tournament, or something. That’s a small mentality. That’s why they’ll do nothing in the competition."

- Ronaldo reacts with predictable magnanimity to Iceland - a nation with a population of just over 330,000 people - defending their way to a sensational 1-1 draw with Portugal in the opening round of Euro 2016

“It makes it even sweeter when he’s a sore loser like that. What can I say? Tough sh*t. What does he expect - for us to play like Barcelona against him? He fannies about and dives around. He’s a fantastic footballer but he’s not a gracious human being.”

- Iceland’s Kari Arnason puts it better than any two-bit hack of a journalist ever could...


FUNNY OLD GAME


“I hope Puma does not produce condoms!”

-  Xherdan Shaqiri sticks the boot into Puma after Switzerland's shirts prove less than reliable, coming apart during the Euro 2016 clash with France

“That’s football: sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the tree."

- Mario Gotze channels his inner 'Dude' after being asked how he went from being the hero of Germany's World Cup win in 2014 to a bit-part player at Euro 2016

“Wenger shook my hand and congratulated me on the Europa League win with Sevilla. Then he asked me if I’d reached an agreement with PSG.”

- Croatia’s team doctor Tomaslav Madzar on Arsene Wenger confusing him with Unai Emery in arguably the best case of mistaken identity since Ali Dia

"Even Superman is 'only' Clark Kent sometimes."

- Juventus fans make a fantastic pop-culture reference in showing their support for their under-fire superhero, Gigi Buffon, who had been buried by the Italian press after a couple of high-profile mistakes but then went on to make three other-worldly saves against Lyon

“When I was 17, 18 years old and tried to make the jump to the first team at Manchester, it was much more difficult, senior players were a**holes. Now you make a little joke and it seems to be a crime."

- Pique laments the fact that he is not allowed to act like an a**hole. We suspect Spain and Real Madrid fans might have something to say about that...

"He showed he struggled with the job to judge players, so why do we let him talk about players on television?"

- In defending Loris Karius, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp absolutely burns Gary Neville by bringing up the pundit's disastrous spell in charge of Valencia last season

"Jamie Carragher, bad player, wonderful hater, who cares?"

- Mario Balotelli bites back, after the former Liverpool defender claims that Nice have paid over the odds for the Reds striker - by taking him on loan for free

"He did not look in my eyes because he was afraid. And he was afraid to speak to me. And when I arrived at Liverpool, it was he who asked me for my jersey, not the opposite."

- Former Liverpool flop El Hadji Diouf pays tribute to the retiring Steven Gerard with his customary contempt for other people - and the truth


DILLY-DING, DILLY-DONG!


"I scouted Cristiano Ronaldo – not a bad young player!"

- Claudio Ranieri reveals what he did during a brief break in Rome in February

"Robert De Niro would be good!"

- Ranieri's response after being asked who he would like to see play him in a movie about Leicester striker Jamie Vardy

"Hey, man, we are in Champions League! We are in Champions League, man! Dilly-ding, dilly-dong! Come on!"

- It may not have been flawless English but Claudio Ranieri could not have better communicated just how insane it was that Leicester had qualified for the most prestigious tournament in club football

“The last time I lifted a weight? Probably a can of Red Bull the other day!"

- Jamie Vardy admits that he's only interested in six-packs of a certain variety

"He went straight from the bottom to the Championship, which eventually led him to start drinking booze every single day. We had no idea what to do. I didn’t know about this until someone told me that he came to train while he was still drunk."

- Leicester City’s vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha reveals that Jamie Vardy wasn't just drinking Red Bull when he first joined the Foxes


HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY?


"Lewandowski is the best striker in the world. I remember swapping shirts with him; he has an incredible six-pack."

- One gets the feeling that Alvaro Morata has spent too long around Cristiano Ronaldo and now has a weird take on what constitutes a great striker

"We have to admire art and they have two or three players that transform normal life into art."

- Arsene Wenger admits that when faced with Barcelona at their brilliant best, sometimes one has to just admit inferiority

"The second ball is a concept. It's typical here in England when they use a lot of tackles. I am not a coach for the tackles. I don't train for tackles. What I want is to try to play well and score goals. What are tackles?"

- Pep Guardiola searches for answers upon realising that he doesn't have players at Manchester City good enough to keep the ball for 90 minutes

"About 80 per cent of you here have at some point scratched your balls. It is not an issue in the team."

- In a desperate attempt to defuse the Joachim Low 'Scatch and Sniff' scandal, Lukas Podolski calls on those within sin to cast the first stone...

"After losing to Wales me and some players gathered in my room, talked until 9am and then concluded in unison: 'We’re sh*t!'"

- Russia coach Leonid Slutsky admits that it took him and his players a lot longer to work out what the watching world realised very quickly at Euro 2016

"I was surprised when he became England coach, but I wasn't surprised at the scandal about him that followed. He was a terrible coach – his relationships, innuendo, the way he would chew his gum."

- Emre Belozoglu offers further evidence that the most reprehensible characters are as obsessed with oral hygiene as power and money...

“When I was young, Arsenal was the club of my heart. The beautiful Arsenal. We will see.”

Moussa Sissoko eventually got his wish to move to north London. Rather awkwardly, though, he ended up at Tottenham - not Arsenal


ZLAT'S ENTERTAINMENT


"I had a bigger objective than Sweden. Sweden was my breakfast."

- Ibra explains that his homeland served as little more than an appetiser as he went about devouring the global game

"I will not be at PSG next season. I still have a month and a half left here [in Paris]. If they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me [I would stay]."

- Zlatan makes the best contract demand in the history of football, even if was a joke... Probably

"There are talks in progress. We can make a lot of films about me. It would be like Rambo I to Rambo V - we could do Ibracadabra 1 to 10."

- Is anyone in the least bit surprised that Zlatan feels he belongs on the big screen?

“My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes. I came like a king; left like a legend."

- The striker sums up his time in the French capital and, in truth, it was difficult to disagree

"I won’t be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester."

- Ibra responds in predictable fashion to Eric Cantona's claim that the Swede could become the prince of Old Trafford - but not the King - after joining Manchester United on a free transfer

"I thought it was only me who had scored 25,000."

- Zlatan reacts to the news that he had scored the 25,000th goal in Premier League history


THE NOT-SO-BEAUTIFUL GAME


"A football manager is listened to in a way that actually makes you wonder about the intelligence of the human race. I recently met a famous brain surgeon in New York and in his brain, when it comes to intelligence, there are definitely 80 per cent more light bulbs alight than in mine. But what happens? He started to stutter because he is crazy about football and this person from LFC was suddenly standing in front of him."

- Klopp mulls over society's increasingly warped values

"With respect to the world of football, I earn a normal wage. But compared to 99.9 per cent of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn an obscene amount. I live in [a bubble]. Real life is the one my friends live. They've had to look for work, sign on to the dole and emigrate. That's normal life now. My life as a footballer is not normal."

- The lovely Juan Mata offers proof that at least some footballers have managed to maintain a connection with the real world

"Entrapment has won on this occasion and I have to accept that."

- Disgraced former England boss Sam Allardyce, undignified until the bitter end

"The fighting between Russian fans with the English, that is a disgrace. I don’t know how 200 Russian fans could beat several thousand of the British!"

- Ever the tactful and sensitive master of diplomacy, Russian President Vladimir Putin makes light of the shocking violence that marred his country's Euro 2016 clash with England

"While everyone supports you and tells you nice words, know that once you are the president, friends become rare."

- Sepp Blatter warns his successor as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, that there is a price to be paid for making millions off the game

"It has completely fulfilled its temporary mission."

- Just when you think FIFA have hit rock bottom, they go and disband their anti-racism task force

"Rudiger was provoking us even before the game. Two years ago, he was there in Stuttgart, selling socks and belts, and now he acts like he's a phenomenon."

- With his disgraceful comments about Roma's Antonio Rudiger, Lazio's Senad Lulic suggests that maybe, just maybe, racism remains an issue within football

“I will find him [Wenger] one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face."

- Rob Beasley, the author of 'Jose Mourinho, Up Close and Personal' reveals what the Portuguese told him after yet another war of words with Arsene Wenger in January 2014

"Only now, at the age of 43, I feel I can actually live without that secret and that massive, horrible burden. I want to get it out and give other people an opportunity to do the same. I want to give people strength. I survived it. I lost my career, which was a massive thing for me, but I’m still here. I came through the other side. Other people can have that strength."

- In an incredibly brave and important move, Andy Woodward waives his right to anonymity to lift the lid on the widespread sexual abuse of boys within British football


CHAMPIONS


"I came from this place people call ‘ghetto Rosengard’, conquered Sweden and made it my country. My way. I am Sweden. A huge thank you to the Swedish people - without you I would never have been able to fulfill my dreams. You will always be in my blue and yellow heart. I love you."

- Ibra bids farewell to his national team and shows that, if you can dig deep enough beneath boastfulness, he's not such a bad guy at heart

"Steven, brilliant player, world legend. Congratulations for what you did for football!"

- The truly great Javier Zanetti salutes Steven Gerrard, who called time on his playing career in November

"This was the most beautiful goal of my career because it’s the goal that closes my career."

- World Cup winner Luca Toni brings the curtain down on his career in fine style by pulling off a Panenka penalty in Verona's 2-1 win over Juventus

"The time has come for me to hang up my boots. The injuries I have had in the last few years have taken their toll."

- Former Manchester United centre-half Nemanja Vidic is forced to retire

"I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me."

- Six-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi, who was given a signed shirt by his idol and then got to meet the Barcelona No.10, after first gaining attention for wearing a Messi jersey made out of plastic

"Follow your dreams. With this handicap, I was able to realise my childhood dream. God took my hearing but gave me a talent. And a love of football."

- Damir Desnica gives heartfelt advice - and hope - to any deaf children who may think that a career in professional football is impossible

"Dear God, please take care of our ‘Capitao’. Rest In Peace."

- Brazil legend Pele pays tribute to former Selecao skipper and the man who finished off the finest team goal of all time, Carlos Alberto, who passed away in October

"I am broken."

- A crestfallen Hristo Stoichkov reacts the shock news that the most influential figure in the evolution of 'The Beautiful Game', Johan Cruyff, had lost his battle with cancer

"It was not just a group founded on mutual respect; it was a family. We lived in harmony, with great happiness. Before boarding the flight, they said they were going to turn their dreams into reality. The dream ended this morning."

- Chapecoense's David de Nes Filho speaks on behalf of those that lost their lives in a plane crash that shocked and saddened the entire world

"Today the world cries, but heaven rejoices in receiving champions."

- Neymar

Source : http://www.goal.com/en/news/14312/features/2016/12/31/30484932/van-gaals-sex-masochism-sore-loser-ronaldo-rambo-ibrahimovic-the-

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Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams

Source:Goal

Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams

Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams

Source:ESPN FC

Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams