You are cordially invited to join the celebrations with FourFourTwo, because it’s our birthday and we’re going to party like it’s our birthday. And just to make things extra special, here’s your host and our first ever guest editor of the magazine: Ronaldo.
That’s right: when the original and best Ronaldo heard we wanted him to front our 20th anniversary special issue, the Brazilian didn’t hesitate. “How could I say no?” the 37-year-old told us. “At Barcelona, everyone in the team read FFT and wanted to be in it. Editing it was no picnic, though!”
Ronaldo helped us to pick features (“Zico was my hero, growing up – we have to get him for an interview”), chose his Perfect XI, posed in some birthday shots for our cover and, wearing his ‘editor’s glasses’, sat down for an exclusive interview about his career. From his earliest football memory to his future plans (“Maybe I’ll make this job as editor a full-time thing...”), in this issue he answers questions from you, the reader, without dodging a single one.
We had Ronnie to thank for a stunning One-on-One this month, too. Hearing we were interested in speaking to Ronaldinho, our guest editor got his former Selecao team-mate on the blower and arranged the interview. “Ronaldo always invites me to his parties; I couldn’t miss the one he is throwing as FourFourTwo’s editor!” said Ronaldinho, before tackling readers’ tricky posers on winning the World Cup, lobbing Seaman and scoring 23 goals in a game.
This being our 20th birthday, we had to look back on the previous 20 years of football: the legends and incidents that shocked the game. With Ronaldo’s help – and he did put his foot down at times – we’ve selected a great player and unforgettable moment for every year between 1994 and today, remembering the iconic events and digging out the best interviews. From Romario modestly placing himself in the top four Brazilian footballers of all time to an insider account of Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United in 2013, it’s a thrill ride, including historic moments from Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City.
And if you’re more of a photography fan, you’ll want to check out our Picture Special comparing 1994 and 2014. VW Bugs to Bugattis, makeshift TV studios to billion-pound broadcasting deals – things have changed a bit all right.
Undoubtedly the biggest advancement since FourFourTwo first hit the shelves has been the world wide web, but what effect did it have on the beautiful game? A huge one, of course, be it clubs interacting closely with fans or journalists and supporters watching instant highlights reels of players in far-flung countries. Yes, the internet changed football forever – we reveal how.
Aye, things were different in 1994. What kind of footballing world was FourFourTwo born into? One with £5m record transfer fees but much fewer live matches on TV, that’s what. England hadn’t even made the World Cup that year, so why was it the perfect time to launch a new football magazine? We go back to our roots and revisit an era of New Lad culture and a growth in writing about the game.
You want more? OK: we’ve also interviewed Roberto Carlos, Tostao and Zico (at our Brazilian editor’s request), taken a peek inside the Javier Margas sex hotel and spoken to Barcelona manager Luis Enrique about triathlons and Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce about punk rock. Happy birthday to us!
Was that OK, boss?
The 20th anniversary special edition of FourFourTwo - available now, wherever you are - is brought to you by Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Zico, Tostao, Vampeta, Ricardo Gomes, Leandro, Stuart Pearce, Luis Enrique, Vincent Kompany, Carlos Queiroz, Jordi Alba, Jesper Gronkjaer, Ian Harte, Connor Wickham, Alan Wilkie, Diego Forlan, David Baddiel, David Hunt, Jonas Gutierrez, Dwarf FC, The Player for one last time and, of course, Ronaldo.