French football quotes of the year 2013

Zlatan IbrahimovicFrom post-match brawls and Twitter spats to weather vanes, broken televisions and Justin Bieber, Football Further proudly presents its seasonal compilation of the year’s best French football quotes.

Argy-bargy

“People have a good image of me. It’s not these tramps who are going to tarnish my image. They should stop lying to the French people. It annoys me that people talk about ‘your image’. My image is great in France. When I’m abroad, I don’t even talk about it. But in France it’s just these people, these parasites.”
- Patrice Evra on his friends in the media

“I go to talk to the referee. At that moment, the delegate blocks me and pushes me towards the referee. As a result, I touch the referee with my back. It happened exactly like that. I didn’t push the referee.”
- Leonardo‘s not entirely accurate account of his encounter with referee Alexandre Costa after Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw with Valenciennes in May. It ultimately costs him a 14-month suspension, effectively forcing him out of French football

“This year we’ve lost lots of players, as always, but we’ve lost something very important: the pillars of Valencia, players like [Roberto] Soldado, David Albelda or Tino Costa who talk in the changing room. Now there are lots of boot-lickers who don’t say things to your face. That’s why things aren’t going well between me and Đukić.”
- Adil Rami explains why his relationship with Valencia coach Miroslav Đukić has broken down. And is promptly frozen out of the squad

“There was an altercation that I wasn’t involved in. My goalkeeping coach, Fabrice Grange, was surrounded by a load of people who were pushing him. Jean-Michel Aulas arrived – I don’t know why. All I did was push him back. He says that I hit him in the back, which is scandalous. If I’d done that, he wouldn’t have been able to do an interview with Canal+ three minutes later.”
- Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier rejects an accusation from Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas that he punched him during a tunnel scuffle after a heated derby du Rhône

“And what’s the other one called, Screwdriver? Rolland Screwdriver. All he does is talk.”
- Evra again, unwittingly rechristening manager/pundit Rolland Courbis ‘Rolland Tournevis’

Les Bleus

“After the Euro, the media attention was very difficult to digest. I’d say that it ruined my season a bit. Everyone talked to me about it. I handled the situation badly, I accept that. I should have given a mea culpa. I shut myself off and, with hindsight, I realise that I was wrong.”
- Samri Nasri reflects on Euro 2012

“If I had to do everything again, if I had the possibility to relive exactly the same life, I’d do it, I’d want the same one. I’d do everything the same. It’s beautiful, all the same. I’m happy with what I’ve experienced up to now.”
- Éric Abidal on his battle with liver problems

“Above my mantelpiece, in the living room. My wife’s prepared everything.”
- Asked where he would put the Ballon d’Or trophy if he won it, Franck Ribéry reveals that he’s barely given it any thought at all

“When the coach told me I was playing, I said: ‘We’re going to Brazil.’ It doesn’t matter how. If I’d had to score with my hand, the ball would have been in the back of the net.”
- Mamadou Sakho, who scores two goals as France overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Ukraine to book their place at next year’s World Cup

“I’d never seen such an atmosphere at the Stade de France. It was a beautiful moment to experience, all those people behind us, the flags, the chants. From the hotel to the stadium we felt that force pushing us.”
- Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris

“RESPECT.”
- So often the scourge of the national team, L’Équipe takes its cue from Ali G with a simple one-word headline the day after the match

Barton v Thiago Silva

“A Marseille player, whose name I don’t remember, speaks badly of Neymar, Brazilian football, Beckham and Ibra. As no-one talks about him, maybe he thinks he’ll drool over the big players so that we know he exists. It makes me want to win even more, to shut this Englishman up. What does he know about Brazilian football? I can’t remember playing against him for the national team…”
- Thiago Silva tires of Joey Barton’s barbs against his PSG and Brazil team-mates

“Thiago Silva. That the same pussy thats  been injured all season. Another over rated Brazilian. Sort your hamstrings out FatBoy…”
- Barton takes the bait. After likening Thiago Silva to an “overweight ladyboy” in a subsequent tweet, he gets a suspended two-game ban from France’s National Ethics Committee

“Joey has done all right but he has not pulled up any trees. He has been Steady Eddie, that is all. Barton is a good player, but is he as great as he thinks he is? When you have to talk up your own ability, you have a problem.”
- Marseille great Chris Waddle weighs in

“He’s better at tweeting than he is on the pitch.”
- As does Basile Boli

Zlatan

“I don’t need the Ballon d’Or to know I’m the best. It matters more to some players.”
- Zlatan Ibrahimović

“After a perfectly normal challenge, Ibra turned to me and provoked me, making a joke about my moustache, saying: ‘That really is terrible.’ I responded by saying that he should think about his nose.”
- Zlatan works his charm on Anderlecht’s Sacha Kljestan

Oh, le même… nose.”
- Zlatan spots a female autograph-hunter with a similarly shaped proboscis, only for his French to fail him at the last moment

“We were looking through his playlist in the dressing room – there was lots of Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez. We were expecting some cool English rock bands and hip hop. It is nice to know that even David Beckham doesn’t have good taste in everything.”
- Zlatan makes Becks feel at home

“Perhaps you could ask Ibra for an interview. I’m sure he’d grant you one.”
- Laurent Blanc, to beIN Sport’s Malika Ménard (a former Miss France), after Zlatan gatecrashes her interview with the PSG coach

“There was a problem during the match. At one point, the Freebox [satellite box] wasn’t sending the right signal. Zlatan took the remote control and showed what you had to do to watch the match properly. He’s a handyman!”
- A Parisian restaurant-owner reveals that there is no end to Zlatan’s talents after he fixes a faulty TV while the PSG squad watch a Champions League match between Barcelona and Milan

Monaco

“I eat and next to me there’s [Radamel] Falcao, James Rodríguez, [Ricardo] Carvalho, [Éric] Abidal, [João] moutinho and that’s when you say to yourself shit I’m here too!”
Layvin Kurzawa tweets about the surreality of life at Monaco

“Nothing.”
- Asked what he knows about Ligue 1, Monaco new recruit Ricardo Carvalho at least has the decency not to pretend

“I’m very happy at Monaco and I believe in the project. Everything is a lie – even the figures referred to by the press are untrue. I feel good at the club. I believe in the Monaco project and I’m going to stay here.”
- Falcao digs out the dreaded P-word after rumours emerge that he wants to leave Monaco for Real Madrid

“Paris have lots of big champions with experience, more than Monaco. For me, there’s no comparison to be made. They are two important clubs, but we are young. There’s a long way to go, but this team has a future.”
- Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri tries to water down expectations following a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes in September

Chez les anglais

“The first time, I heard my name but I didn’t understand the words. So I looked on the internet. They chant after a goal, sometimes just after a run! I spoke about it with Moussa [Sissoko], who has his own [song] as well. Having your own song is just magnificent.”
- Yoan Gouffran struggles to get his ears around the Geordie accent

“We’ve decided on something that’s quite unique: I won’t receive any salary. We’ve decided my salary will go towards a local children’s charity in Paris and that’s one of the things we’re very excited and proud to do.”
- Yet another PR masterstroke from David Beckham, following his arrival at PSG

“I really tried to make him come here. I spoke about it to the manager, to the scouts, but here they don’t know the French championship. I told them: ‘He’s a good player, bring him here.’ They replied: ‘We don’t even know who he is.’”
- Joey Barton, on his failed attempts to convince Queens Park Rangers to take a punt on Morgan Amalfitano

“You know who my idol was? Nobby Stiles! He made quite an impression on me.”
- Lille coach René Girard reveals an unlikely source of inspiration in an interview with FourFourTwo
magazine

Feminism

“Women who talk about football tactics, it’s beautiful. I find that fantastic. And you know what a 4-3-3 is, right?”
- Laurent Blanc does his bit for gender equality in response to a question from a female Swedish journalist

“I don’t talk football with women. That’s how I see things. They can go back to their saucepans.”
- Aulas’s right-hand man at Lyon, Bernard Lacombe, takes exception to a female caller who criticises Karim Benzema during a radio phone-in

And finally..

“I’m not a weather vane.”
- Florian Thauvin, after reports emerge that he wants to wriggle out of his transfer to Lille in order to join Marseille (shortly before he wriggles out of his transfer to Lille in order to join Marseille)

“And people ask me why I want to change the stadium.”
- Jean-Michel Aulas sees the funny side after he and a sponsor get locked in at Stade Gerland following a friendly game against Real Madrid

“I signed the first team sheet with Sakho as captain. I signed a second with Ibrahimović as captain. And then, just before the warm-up, they made me sign a third one with Blaise Matuidi.”
- PSG play Pass the Parcel with the captain’s armband, as reported by Sochaux’s Cédric Kanté

“The song, ‘A Big Mac, for Gignac’? The PSG supporters came up with it, but not only does it mean that people are talking about me, it makes me laugh. I’m all for self-deprecation. As for McDonald’s, to be honest, it’s good. I really like the nuggets - not Big Macs. But I prefer sushi.”
- Big-boned Marseille striker André-Pierre Gignac reveals his dietary secrets

Compiled with the kind assistance of Andy Scott. This piece was cross-posted on the Guardian Sport Network and can also be found here.

Related links: French football quotes of the year 2012 | French football quotes of the year 2011 | French football quotes of the year 2010

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