Yanis Varoufakis' best quotes

Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, will be live on Squawk Box Europe at 8.15 a.m. London time.

Marxist economist and academic Varoufakis was one of the more colorful personalities to emerge from the Greek crisis. Throughout months of negotiations with creditors, Europe could always rely on Varoufakis to have the final word.

Here, we take a look at some of his more memorable quotes.

'Rage against the dying of the light'

Varoufakis came to international prominence in January 2015 when the leftwing Syriza party won a snap election in Greece on a pledge to overhaul its international bailout program and scrap the austerity measures imposed by lenders.

In a sign of the defiant attitude Greece would take towards lenders, Varoufakis quoted poet Dylan Thomas in his blog, writing:

"Greek democracy today chose to stop going gently into the night. Greek democracy resolved to rage against the dying of the light."

Since then, he has been engaged in months of fraught negotiations with lenders over reforms, making friends and enemies along the way.

When Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the referendum on June 26, speculation mounted that it was part of a master plan by the Syriza government to leave the euro zone and return to Greece's former currency, the drachma.

Varoufakis is certainly not without ambivalence towards the single currency, telling CNN in January:

"The problem is that once you're in (the euro), just like the Eagle's song 'Hotel California' - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

'Smashed the presses'

But as some Greece watchers braced themselves for a return to the drachma, Varoufakis indicated that this was no longer possible.

In an interview with Australian public radio network ABC last week, the politician said the country had destroyed the printing presses used to make the currency when it joined the euro in 2001:

"We smashed the printing presses -- we have no printing presses."

'Proud Greece'

Both the prime minister and Varoufakis urged Greeks to vote "no" in the referendum.

But although a "no" vote was widely seen as a vote against a future within the euro zone, the former finance minister appeared to disagree, writing in a blog post:

"The future demands a proud Greece within the euro zone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday."

No tears in Berlin

One man who might not shed any tears over Varoufakis' departure is German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Since talks began five months ago, the relationship between the two men has been tense at best—at worst, they have accused each other of being "insulting."

On Greek television in March, Varoufakis said:

"Mr. Schaeuble has told me I have lost the trust of the German government. I have told him that I never had it. I have the trust of the Greek people."

'Stick the finger'

Varoufakis' relationship with Germany hit a low point when a video emerged of him apparently "giving the finger" to the country.

During the video of a lecture Varoufakis was giving at a conference in Croatia in 2013, the former minister appeared to advocate that Greece should have defaulted on its debts years ago:

"Greece should simply announce it was defaulting...in 2010 and stick the finger to Germany and say, well you can solve this problem yourself."

Doctored video?

The video proved controversial, however, with claims that it had been doctored.

Varoufakis himself told German TV he had proposed that:

"That video was doctored. I've never given the finger, I've never given the middle finger ever."

It was not his first run-in with the media.

Varoufakis and his wife took part in a glossy magazine shoot for Paris Match in March in which their comfortable, middle-class lifestyle was portrayed. Following wide-spread criticism, he insisted to CNBC's Julia Chatterley that he was not a "liability" to his government.

Sign a deal or lose an arm?

Ahead of Sunday's vote, Varoufakis said he would resign on a "yes" result in an interview with Bloomberg.

When asked if he'd sign bailout proposals that didn't include a restructuring of Greece's debts, he replied:

"I prefer to cut my arm off."

- CNBC's Katrina Bishop contributed reporting to this story by Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt.