14 famous World Cup quotes

The Rio Report

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1. Diego Maradona - One of the most, if not the most, controversial goal in World Cup history was always bound to prompt some memorable quotes. It was left to the architect of the infamous goal against England in 1986 to come out with the best, in doing so coining a phrase that has become synonymous with his flawed genius.

"A little bit of Maradona's head, a little bit of the hand of God."

2. Pele - Gordon Banks was a great keeper but the former England international will always be remembered for one save in particular - an incredible stop to deny the Brazilian great what seemed like a certain headed goal in Mexico in 1970. So sure Pele was that he had scored, he immediately shouted 'Golo'. Banks had other ideas.

"I know I scored that goal – Banks ran away with it!"

3. Gary Lineker - The England striker gave an early glimpse of his suitability for a career in punditry with the following gem, uttered in the aftermath of the Three Lions' heart-breaking defeat to West Germany on penalties in the semi-finals of Italia '90.

"Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."

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4. Marco Materazzi - Zinedine Zidane's head-butt to the chest of the Italian in the 2006 final stunned the world and prompted a global inquest into what exactly caused one of the greatest players to grace a football pitch to snap. Speculation raged and lip-readers had never had so much work for over a year before Materazzi finally came clean and enlightened the world.

"I prefer the whore that is your sister."

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5. Alcides Ghiggia - Fifty years after he plunged an entire football-mad country into the depths of despair by scoring the winning goal during the de facto final against Brazil in 1950, former Uruguay striker and World Cup winner Ghiggia delivered a rather neat verdict on his feat.

"Only three people have ever silenced 200,000 people at the Maracanã with a single gesture: Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul II and me."

6. Harald Schumacher - What's to like about the Germany goalkeeper? Not only did his horrendous challenge in the 1982 semi-finals leave Patrick Battiston unconscious and with a damaged vertebra but his reaction when informed that his victim was also missing three teeth was unforgiveable.

"If that's all that's wrong with him, I'll pay him the crowns."

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7. Gareth Southgate - Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign as England manager was widely regarded as an expensive failure. Certainly, defender Southgate was no fan of the Swede following what was interpreted as being a rather limp half-time team-talk during the quarter-final defeat to Brazil in 2002.

"We were expecting Winston Churchill and instead we got Iain Duncan-Smith."

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8. Ronaldo ­- As Linker said, "football is a simple game"; it could also be said that footballers are simple folk. Ronaldo's explanation for Brazil's 3-0 loss in the 1998 final to France was simplicity itself, with a slice of stupidity and a hint of genius.

"We lost because we didn't win."

9. Obdulio Varela - Just after Brazil's opening goal in the 1950 'final', the Uruguay captain moved to reassure his team-mate Rodriguez Andrade. Varela was a touch optimistic about the timing of his prediction - the Maracana was silenced by his goal 32 minutes later - but the sentiments were spot on.

"Let them shout. In five minutes, this stadium will be as silent as a tomb and only one voice will be able to be heard: mine."

10. David Beckham - In 2006, the metrosexual midfielder was able to bring his worldly-wisdom to the England camp when he was playing his club football for Real Madrid, although sometimes a line had to be drawn.

"Before the Paraguay game we'll all shake hands. At Madrid we all kiss each other before we go out. Against Jamaica, Aaron Lennon was waiting to replace me and as I approached I reached forward to kiss him, but then thought 'no, better not'."

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11. Tarcisio Burgnich - The Italian was a world-class defender, in his prime at the 1970 World Cup, but even a player of his standing was humbled in the presence of greatness.

"Before the game I told myself that Pele was just flesh and bones, as we all do. Later, I realised I was wrong."

12. Willem Van Hanegem - Sadness was not the overriding emotion coursing through the Dutch midfielder's body after Holland's 2-1 defeat to West Germany in the 1974 final. Instead anger prevailed, just under three decades after the end of the Second World War.

"They murdered my father, sister and two brothers. I am full of anger. I hate them."

13. Roy Keane ­- The fiery former Ireland midfielder has never been one to mince his words, either as a player, a manager or now as a pundit. Few expected the ferocity of this outburst in Saipan though, where he laid into Republic boss Mick McCarthy without fear of consequence.

"Mick, you're a liar... you're a f*****g w****r. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f*****g w****r and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b******s."

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14. Bobby Robson - The former England manager was never short of a quotable line - this beauty came after a ponderous 3-2 win over Cameroon in the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

"We didn't underestimate them. They were a lot better than we thought.”

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