In the mag: Aguero, Matic, Hulk, Brazil vs Exeter...
It's been another busy month at FFT Towers, but we're chuffed to bring you another ace cover interview in the form of Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City striker was dismantling every team in his sights for club and country at the beginning of the season, before injuries curtailed his scintilating run of form. At the time it was the only thing that could stop him.
When we pulled up a pew with the Argentine for this month's issue it was difficult to get a word in edgeways. But of course, that's the way we like it.
Aguero might be a menace you never want to meet on the pitch, but off it FFT discovered a jovial joker determined to have fun in his bid to help make Man City and Argentina the best. We discuss everything from City's title charge, the differences between Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini, and whether he and Luis Suarez are the Messi and Ronaldo of the Premier League.
He's about to return from injury at a crucial time – City have the Premier League title in their own hands, and Argentina need him if they're to lift the famous Jules Rimet for the first time since 1986 (although they do have that Messi fella). It's usually very easy to call a player's next few months massive, but they really could be the best of Aguero's life if all goes to plan.
In this month's One-on-One, meanwhile, we've chatted to the man they call God at Liverpool. We're made most welcome by Robbie Fowler inviting us into bed at the start of our interview (honest), before delving deep into the free-scoring striker's colourful career which also took in spells with the likes of Leeds, Manchester City, Blackburn and Cardiff. Has Graeme Le Saux forgiven him for that moment? Has he still got his Spice Boys suit? Should he have played more for England?
FFT gets out quite a lot thank you very much, but it's not often we manage to make it to Iran. But we were this month, to find out how former Manchester United and Real Madrid brain Carlos Queiroz is finding life as the nation's coach. After leading Iran to this summer's World Cup against the odds, FFT finds out how Fergie's old No.2 is finding life as the Middle East's No.1 boss.
You might think football is volatile and dangerous in Iran, but things may be worse closer to home as we take a look at the Ultras phenomenon in Malaysia. After directly challenging the Football Association with Malaysia with their "colourful" protests during the Philippines game last March, Malaysian football may no longer be the same. We chat up the man behind the band of balaclava-clad group, Freddie to find out more about their reason and intention behind the confrontation.
"It took Mourinho one minute to convince me to join Chelsea," we're informed by Nemanja Matic, the man let go by the Blues only to be re-signed for £21 million three seasons later. After a terrific spell with Benfica, eyebrows were barely raised. Some players develop a lot in a short space of time – and that's clearly the case where the 25-year-old Serbia international is concerned. From growing up amid the Kosovo War to making it big at Stamford Bridge, FFT gets a valuable insight into the life of Chelsea's returning star.
After what happened at Perak last year, it also did not take Farizal Marlias long to join Selangor. The Red Giant goalkeeper has been in outstanding form of late and is beginning to regain the form that once made him the automatic first-choice goalkeeper for the Malaysia national team. FFT catches up with 'Mael' to see what he thinks of the current Super League season and his chances of taking the national gloves back from current custodian Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
When it comes to uplifting, feel-good stories, you almost cannot get any better than Asraf Rashid's. Born with a deformed left arm, the Tanjong Pagar United winger has persevered and gone against all odds to become, at the time of writing, the only disabled Singaporean to be playing professional football on the island - and it all started because of a chance meeting with a former Jaguars player. Asraf tells FFT exactly how it happened.
The world's most popular football nation are 100 years old. They'll host this summer's showpiece, and have won the World Cup five times – but it all started in humble fashion with a good old kickabout against Exeter. FFT celebrates the birth of the Seleção looking at social divides, their first star, and the Brits who walked off the pitch in a huff...
Think that's all? Think again. We've got Thierry Henry telling you how to finish like a pro in our regular Performance section, Hulk (not the green one) explaining his secret, and plenty more. Elsewhere, Gigi Vialli takes time to reflect, we find the most popular matchday pie and have a chat with the daughter of Pele and Maradona. Nope, you did not read the last line wrongly.