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.
When Ronaldo agreed to take on the guest editor role, we immediately thought of the memorable Malaysia-Brazil match in 2002. Naturally, for our Tiger of the Month, we knew we had to get someone from that game. Arise, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, who featured in it as a lanky 21-year-old. As he reminisces about the 4-0 defeat, the Felda United winger also touches on various topics including Perak, the Malaysian FA Cup final and his national team aspirations.
As the party continues, 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.
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.
And what sort of a birthday party will it be without tifos? We track down the masterminds behind the greatest tifos (essentially huge banners and/or displays) from across the world to find out how it's done. From Dortmund to Selangor to... erm, Crystal Palace, FFT gets the lowdown on the most witty and downright dirty displays from those who know best.
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. Happy birthday to us!
Was that OK, boss?