In the mag: The legend of Totti! Lukaku exclusive! Abidal One-on-One!
He's played for Roma for 20 years, scored 300 goals and won the World Cup, but still Francesco Totti doesn't get the love he deserves on these shores. It's time to put that right before it's too late, as FourFourTwo tells the inside story of the most misunderstood player of a generation.
Totti has been called overrated, a luxury, even a little t*** (although that was by Ron Atkinson, to be fair). But the 39-year-old is as much a part of Rome as pasta and the Colosseum. Why do Roma fans love him so much, and will this be his final season? We speak to those who know him best, including Gabriel Batistuta and chain-smoking two-time Roma boss Zdenek Zeman.
Totti is one of a dying breed of players who have devoted their entire career to one club. FFT investigates some of the other one-club men including Lev Yashin, Paolo Maldini and the Turkish Ryan Giggs. Sort of.
Romelu Lukaku may already been on the fourth club of his career by the age of 22, but the Belgian is flourishing at Everton as he increasingly fulfils the potential that prompted Chelsea to sign him in 2011.
FFT sits down with Lukaku, who explains why the Toffees have his mum to thank for his decision to move to Goodison Park, and why he knew he had to end his working relationship with Jose Mourinho.
In Action Replay we speak to Sven-Goran Eriksson as we look back at how he was welcomed – or not, as the case may be – as England's first foreign manager 15 years ago this month. Why did the media say he was a hammer-thrower? Was Gary Megson a justifiable alternative? And did Eriksson's faithful captain David Beckham really speak out against an overseas appointment?
Few players can look back on quite as extraordinary a career as Eric Abidal, the subject of this month's One-on-One. The defender represented France in the World Cup final and won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, the second time only two months after surgery on a tumour in his liver. Abidal tells FFT about working with Pep Guardiola, explains what it's like to take a penalty in the most important game in the world and speaks about how Dani Alves offered him a liver during his most difficult days.
Football and food, well they haven't always got on, have they? FFT discovers those perilous moments when snacks have attacked. From exploding eggs, poisoned pancakes and a World Cup sausage-smuggling scandal, enjoy 25 bonkers tales of the game's most unfortunate run-ins with grub.
Eight seasons ago, Bolton Wanderers were going toe-to-trotter with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and the Premier League's big boys. Now they're broke and heading for League One. Where did it all go wrong? We head to the Macron Stadium and speak to Neil Lennon & Co. to find out.
There's also a feature on the Football League players who spend their downtime studying for non-football qualifications, including Portsmouth's Christian Burgess, Morecambe's Shaun Beeley, Leyton Orient's Bradley Pritchard, Port Vale's Chris Birchall and Wycombe Wanderers' Joe Jacobson. Plus FFT asks what happens on a winter break, and we look into the history of pressing. Invented by Marcelo Bielsa and perfected by Jurgen Klopp, right? Wrong. We discover the shocking truth.
In Upfront, Adrian Mutu lets loose on Mourinho, court cases and saying no to Real Madrid, Jermaine Jenas explains why Michael Dawson would be the first to be eaten in a zombie apocalypse and FFT backs Mick McCarthy as the next leader of FIFA. Well, either him or Pierluigi Collina. But definitely not Donald Trump.
Xavi looks back at his famous goal at the Bernabeu in Planet Football, which also features the Coupe de France – AKA the maddest, most bafflingly convoluted cup competition in world football. Plus there's an exclusive interview with Celta Vigo marksman and Barcelona target Nolito, how the worst team in India attract average attendances of 52,000, and the team whose clean sheet bonus turned out to be a goat.
In Performance, Thiago delivers a masterclass on the lessons of street football and Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker explain how to create a winning dressing room.
The February 2016 issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by Gabriel Batistuta, Romelu Lukaku, Eric Abidal, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Mesut Ozil, Adrian Mutu, Robert Pires, Thiago Alcantara, Rio Ferdinand, Olivier Giroud, Zdenek Zeman, Xavi, Philippe Albert, Patrice Evra, Neil Lennon, Laurent Koscielny, Chris Waddle, Per Mertesacker, Troy Deeney, Michael O'Neill, Athole Still, George Leekens, John Hartson, Sammy McIlroy, Sebastian Kehl, Kevin Davies, Terry Phelan, Massimo Luongo, Christian Burgess, Josh Lambo, Giuseppe Giannini, John McGinlay, Luciano Spinosi, Peter Ramage, Paul McVeigh, Chris Birchall, Ruggiero Rizzitelli, Joe Jacobson, Ezio Sella, Shaun Beeley, Peter Hyballa, Bradley Pritchard, Dave Pace, the other inventor of Gunnersaurus and David Guetta. Yes, that David Guetta. But no, he didn't invent Gunnersaurus. Available from Wednesday, January 6 in print, on iPad and on iPhone or SUBSCRIBE!