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The 50 Most Insightful Quotes about Football

The blood, sweat, pride, dedication, and allegiance may just speak for themselves when it comes to the World Cup and the coveted sport of football. It’s revered and protected by fans with their team’s colors coursing through their veins from the time they’re born.


It amalgamates people from all corners of the globe, and invites them to unite over their passion for the centuries-old game. Despite the cultural differences between the 32 participating countries around the world, football is easily translated into a language that everyone can understand.

It’s an anywhere, anytime game—any given patch of grass in any city in the world can become a pitch. Those same idle fields just so happened to breed the most renowned players, coaches, and correspondents of the World Cup in history—but their journeys from fans to football royalty didn’t happen overnight.


They each overcame obstacles and barriers to earn their spots on the World Cup stage. Along the way, they’ve cultivated wisdom and tenacity that could apply to any aspect of life, football or otherwise, no matter what the distance is between you and your goals.

World Cup caliber players and coaches of the past and present have shared their sentiments on “the beautiful game” over the years that if adhered to, could make anyone a champion in their own lives. Their profound perspectives have earned places on our list for the all-time most insightful quotes about football.


Finding inspiration through the words of football legends:

  1. “I’m living a dream I never want to wake up from.” ~ Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. “This city has two great teams - Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.” ~ Bill Shankly
  3. “If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.” ~ Bill Shankly
  4. “The wonderful thing about soccer is, a football is a perfectly round object, and it doesn’t make mistakes. The player using it makes mistakes. And the more you use it, the less mistakes you make.” ~ Craig Johnston
  5. “I learned all about life with a ball at my feet” ~ Ronaldinho
  6. “Everything is practice.” ~ Pelé
  7. “When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” ~ Diego Maradona
  8. “I think sometimes the best training is to rest.” ~ Cristiano Ronaldo
  9. “If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way.” ~ Pep Guardiola
  10. “Hard work will always overcome natural talent when natural talent does not work hard enough.” ~ Sir Alex Ferguson
  11. “Practice makes permanent.” ~ Sir Bobby Robson
  12. “There's always things to improve, you can't be satisfied with what you have.” ~ Virgil van Dijk
  13. “I once cried because I had no shoes to play soccer, but one day, I met a man who had no feet.” ~ Zinedine Zidane
  14. “When I say I want to become a legend, some people say it’s pretentious. For me, it’s a challenge — my desire, my dream. I’m not saying I’ll get there, but it’s what I want.” ~ Paul Pogba
  15. “People react to criticism in different ways, and my way is definitely to come out fighting.” ~ David Beckham
  16. “On the pitch and for life generally, I keep my center by remembering that I am part of a team and if I don’t do my part, I let down not just my team but everyone who follows it.” ~ Yaya Toure
  17. “I'm so proud the fans still sing my name, but I fear tomorrow they will stop. I fear it because I love it. And everything you love, you fear you will lose.” - Eric Cantona
  18. “There should be no prima donnas on a team, everyone should feel important, from the oldest player to the youngest.” ~ Marcello Lippi
  19. “It needs time. Nobody wants to hear it, but that’s the truth: If you want to have success in the future, you have to be ready to work now.” ~ Jurgen Klopp
  20. “Technique is not being able to juggle a ball 1000 times. Anyone can do that by practicing. Then you can work in the circus. Technique is passing the ball with one touch, with the right speed, at the right foot of your team mate.” ~ Johann Cruyff
  21. "Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” ~ Johann Cruyff
  22. “You can’t score a goal if you don’t take a shot” ~ Johann Cruyff
  23. “I don’t need the best hairstyle or the best body. Just give me a ball at my feet and I’ll show you what I can do.” ~ Lionel Messi
  24. “I see football as an art and all players are artists. If you are a top artist, the last thing you would do is paint a picture somebody else has already painted.” ~ Cristiano Ronaldo
  25. "Why couldn't you beat a richer club? I've never seen a bag of money score a goal." ~ Johan Cruyff.
  26. “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” ~ Bill Shankly
  27. “Some people say that we professional football players are slaves. Well, if this is slavery, then give me a life sentence!” ~ Sir Bobby Charlton
  28. “If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible. If you don’t have the ball you must make it as small as possible.” ~ Johann Cruyff
  29. “People react to criticism in different ways, and my way is definitely to come out fighting.” ~ David Beckham
  30. "If I wanted you to understand, I would have explained it better." ~ Johan Cruyff
  31. “The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” ~ Pelé
  32. “Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.” ~ Albert Camus
  33. “The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.” - Bill Shankly

  34. “The first 90 minutes are the most important.” ~ Sir Robert William “Bobby” Robson
  35. “Football is the ballet of the masses.” ~ Dmitri Shostakovich
  36. “The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.” ~ Terry Pratchett
  37. “In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
  38. “A penalty is a cowardly way to score.” ~ Pelé
  39. “If you’re going to be a footballer, be a great one. If you’re going to have a dream, dream big.” ~ Sir Alex Ferguson
  40. “In my teams, the striker is the first defender and the goalie is the first attacker.“ ~ Johann Cruyff
  41. “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.” ~ Eric Cantona
  42. Football is an art, like dancing is an art – but only when it’s well done does it become an art.” ~ Arsene Wenger
  43. “The ball is like a woman, she loves to be caressed.” ~ Eric Cantona
  44. “You can not lead by following.” ~ Sir Alex Ferguson
  45. “You can change your wife, your politics, your religion, but never, never can you change your favourite football team.”- Eric Cantona
  46. “Become a legend? But I am already.” ~ Eric Cantona
  47. "Give me Zidane and 10 pieces of wood and I'll win you the Champions League." ~ Sir Alex Ferguson
  48. “A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing.” ~ Bill Shankly
  49. “Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.” ~ Gary Lineker
  50. “To us, football is so much more than a ball and two goals: it connects people from all corners of the world.” ~ TENLEGEND

    Their prolific words may be about football, but their messages are universal. They’re proof that the World Cup’s cream of the crop embodies much more than athleticism. Their minds and bodies are in a perpetual state of evolution, and they challenge themselves, each other, and us to strive for the highest level of performance in everything we do.

    Join us. Be a TENLEGEND. 

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