In the mag: Messi, Nazmi Faiz, Buffon, Dani Alves & more

The new FourFourTwo has hit the shelves. And as it's World Cup month, we thought we'd treat you even more than usual...

It’s July. The World Cup has already been upon us. And apart from a television to watch it on and friends to watch it with, there’s only one more thing you need in your life. That’s right: it’s FourFourTwo!

We’ve pulled out all the stops for the July issue of FFT. With so many free-scoring forwards ready to run riot and a few shaky defences quaking in their boots, Brazil 2014 promises to take recent World Cups and out-goal them all. So who else do we speak to but the main candidate for the Golden Boot award?

Predictably, Lionel Messi is everyone's favourite to be top scorer at this World Cup, something no Argentine has achieved since Mario Kempes on home soil in 1978. But it’s not the individual award he’s after. The Flea is gagging for Argentina to succeed after a disappointing tournament in 2010, and as he tells FFT, he’d even trade every Ballon d’Or he’s ever won – all four of them – for a first World Cup winner’s medal.

Messi’s desire, even desperation, to lift the big one poses the question: does he have it in him to emulate Diego Maradona in 1986 and guide, as captain, Argentina to glory? The pair’s careers have mirrored and intertwined but only a World Cup win will end people’s doubts that the new incarnation is one of history’s greatest ever footballers. We ask: can Messi match Maradona?

But what, you ask, of the men trying to stop Messi scoring? Well, we’ve interviewed them too. Italian centre-back Giorgio Chiellini, Belgium captain Vincent Kompany and explosive right-back for the hosts, Dani Alves, each outline their masterplans for success in Brazil.

He may not be Messi, but a certain boy named Nazmi Faiz Mansor has had people waxing lyrical about ever since his schooling days at the Bukit Jalil Sports School. In this exclusive interview for our Tiger of the Month section, Selangor's new wonderkid tells FFT about, among other things, dealing with pressure and expectations, and what exactly went wrong in Portugal.

Italy have their own Superman, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, on course for 150 caps and with a place in the history books already secured. The 36-year-old and alleged Al Pacino lookalike (according to one reader) answers your questions on everything from wrestling with Mario Balotelli to keeping quiet about his depression. It’s a must-read.

Still not convinced about parting away with RM10 for this issue? Well, we were worried we hadn’t spoken to enough World Cup legends... so we had a sit-down with Cafu as well, three-time World Cup finalist and two-time winner. He tips Neymar for success (obviously) and looks back in anger on a certain Champions League final his Milan side didn’t win.

Last month, we counted down Numbers 50-26 in our list of the greatest World Cup matches EVER. Now it’s time for the top 25. Scorchers, scandals, Goal of the Century, Save of the Century – it’s all here. But what will be our all-time No.1? Maradona’s mastery and mischief? 1966 and all that? Austria vs Switzerland?! There’s only one way to find out...

Nike’s Airport 98 has a place in many a football fan’s heart. That’s why FFT revisits the legendary commercial, going inside the makings of a film that saw John Woo make a star of Ronaldo while cameras melted around a ball-juggling Juninho. The best advert of all time? Damn right.

Plus: Performance tips from three World Cup winners (and Obafemi Martins), a chat with a bee-keeping goalkeeper, Kevin Kilbane in the nip and much, much more. You’d be mad not to buy it.