Gala stars with plenty to say

Though that glittering evening of 7 January is now but a memory, the players and coaches who made it such a special occasion will remain firmly in the spotlight, thanks to a series of exclusive interviews conducted with them in Zurich that day.

In the build-up to the ceremony, we had the privilege of speaking face-to-face with each and every one of them, and over the course of the next few days and weeks you will be able to find out what they had to say for themselves.

The very first of these exclusive Gala interviews was published on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo offering a fresh and fascinating insight on what makes him tick.  

The Real Madrid and Portugal star was far from alone in opening up to Pep Guardiola broke his silence by granting us his first exclusive interview since leaving Barcelona last May. As well as discussing his life away from the limelight in New York, he spoke of his desire to coach again, the ongoing rumours about his next career destination and the form of his ex-Barça charges.

Staying with the Catalans, Lionel Messi spoke about his year with Argentina and his burgeoning status as a national icon, while also reflecting on the impact that the illnesses suffered by Eric Abidal and Tito Vilanova have had at Barcelona. The inimitable Messi discussed all that and more in an interview coming very soon.

His club-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi also stepped up to the microphone, responding with typical style to all our questions about the immediate future for Los Culés and for Spain, who have plenty of work left to do in their FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014™ qualifying group and who will be travelling to Brazil later this year for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Talking of Brazil, there are chats with Dani Alves and Neymar to come too. The flying full-back gave us his thoughts on Luiz Felipe Scolari’s recent appointment as national team coach and the pressure A Seleção will face when they take on the world on home soil, while the Santos sensation spoke openly about his future. Will he be staying with O Peixe after Brazil 2014? Or is a move to Europe on the cards? For the answers to those questions and more stay right here.

Radamel Falcao and Carlos Valderrama bring a taste of Colombia to this unmissable series of interviews, which also features Gerard Pique and the leading lights of the women’s game. Marta and Hope Solo head the list of interviewees contemplating the progress being made by women’s football, with Alex MorganBruno Bini and Gala winners Abby Wambach and Pia Sundhage also giving their views.

Stay logged on at for all our exclusive interviews from the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.