Scholes unleashed, mini-magicians, Gaddafi, naked marches and Bebeto Jr

The weather’s getting colder and the nights are drawing in, but FourFourTwo is as sizzling as ever. In our brand new December issue, out now, we have exclusive interviews with the Premier League’s hottest Spanish imports, Juan Mata and David Silva, not to mention a fiery, no-holds-barred One-on-One with a little maestro by the name of Paul Scholes...

That’s right: one of England’s finest footballers for a generation, answers your questions on everything from his relationship with Fergie to why England always fail.

The king is dead; long live the king. While Scholes departs, the new stars in town are still those mini-magicians of midfield: the playmakers who take apart an opposition with a sliderule pass. We investigate the phenomenon, and what it means for England.

And who better to explain than the experts themselves? We asked David Silva how he feels about being arguably the best player in the Premier League right now – but still without a guaranteed place in the Spain team.

Meanwhile, in one of our most enlightening ever interviews, we talk to new Chelsea star Juan Mata about...well, everything. Real Madrid, karaoke, his dad being held up in a bank robbery – it’s all here, and all in his own words.

“As a football player, I wasn’t allowed to be on the front line. But in the end, I just took the gun.” Those are the shocking words of Libyan footballer Walid el Kahatroushi – and he’s not alone. FFT travels with Libya to find the incredible truth about a team fighting Gaddafi off the pitch while qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations on it.

Almost as extraordinary is what lies ahead for Spanish football. With the gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of league widening into a chasm, it could all go very wrong for La Liga in the near future. We ask: could Spain 'do a Scotland'?

Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell have been appointed managers of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, but the arguments rumble on. Don’t be surprised: the British Olympic football team has always been a monumental cock-up. Read our account of the team’s bizarre history, from upset Celts to rugby-tackling clergymen.

Talking of mistakes, what’s happened to Sheffield? FFT investigates why the Steel City derby between United and Wednesday is taking place in the third tier, and goes along for the (bumpy) ride.

Part five of our youth development series is one of our most fascinating yet: Japan. Find out how the fortunes of an ambitious nation were turned around by an enthusiastic American. They’ll win a World Cup soon, y’know.

But for real craziness, look no further than our dossier on football’s maddest protests. Yellow and green scarves? Pah! We’re talking naked marches, mass graves and lasagne. Now THAT’S sticking it to the man.

And naturally, that’s not all. Also to be found on our glossy pages are an exclusive interview with Welsh captain and the future of Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey, plus interviews with football clubs’ most unlikely owners, from boob barons to professional gamblers.

Want more? Then have our 13 football apps that should exist (Fergie Translator, anyone?), Michel Salgado on how foreigners are killing the Prem, Nemanja Vidic’s tackling masterclass, a Ryan Babel exclusive and the best chants from around the world... EVER. Don’t miss out.

The December 2011 issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by... Paul Scholes, Freddie Ljungberg, Jamie Carragher, Amir Khan, Danny Wilson, Nemanja Vidic, Paddy Kenny, John Ryan, Shinji Ono, Marcus Bean, Lee Strafford, Ryan Babel, Ken Hodcroft, Michel Salgado, Gary Speed, Kieran Gibbs, Kevin Foley, Aaron Ramsey, Jimmy Quinn, David Silva, Martin Allen, David May, Richard Mantell, Bob Rich, John Collins, Nigel Winterburn, Gaizka Mendieta, James Milner, Juan Mata, Roy Hattersley, Tony ‘The Lizard’ Bloom, the Libyan national team, the saviour of Japanese football and the new star of Flamengo, 17-year-old Bebeto Jr.

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