In the mag: Managers special! Rafa, Sven exclusives – plus Simeone, Scolari, Potter, Pep and maddest bosses EVER

Hated, adored… sometimes even ignored: Rafa Benitez has been subjected to all of the above and plenty more in a remarkable coaching career spanning more than 33 years in four countries – though suffice to say, there’s been plenty more love than loathing on English shores.

It takes a saintly figure to spend over three years working under Mike Ashley, but Rafa finally reached breaking point last summer, as he let his contract run down at St James’ Park. In an exclusive interview with FourFourTwo – part of our exciting managers special – he tells us the truth about what happened behind the scenes, and why he had to leave Tyneside under a cloud. The Spaniard also reflects on a terrific life in management which has now taken him to Dalian Yifang in China.

Rafa isn’t the only great to have suffered in a dugout, mind: we’ll also bring you forgotten tales of woe for several iconic gaffers including Alex Ferguson (sacked!), Arsene Wenger (relegated!) and Brian Clough (trounced!). Brutal. We also remember the maddest bosses in football history, get Sven-Goran Eriksson’s 10-step guide to management, and discover life managing in war-torn Kashmir.

Rafa Benitez exclusive

It’s been five months since he left Newcastle. He meets FFT to explain why he joined Dalian Yifang, and to discuss a career that has taken in European glory with Liverpool, turbulent times at Chelsea and Real Madrid, and a few managerial duels. Look out, Fergie: Rafa's ready to talk about facts.

Sven’s 10-point plan

The former Lazio and England manager has been a coach for 42 years, winning 19 trophies and reaching five European finals. He tells FourFourTwo the secrets behind his successful career.

Kashmir: coaching in a war zone

No internet, no phones and a daily stadium bomb check: as manager of Real Kashmir since 2017, nothing has come easy for ex-Rangers, Leeds and Scotland defender David Robertson.

Legendary bosses in crisis

Even the best gaffers haven’t always had things their own way. FFT revisits the darkest hours that forged true legends of management – beginning with the day that Brian Clough was battered 8-2…

Maddest managers ever

The planet's most mental gaffers – featuring cheese, attacks at dawn... and Louis van Gaal’s testicles.

Graham Potter

The Midlander worked miracles as manager of Ostersund, taking the minnows from the Swedish fourth tier to the last 32 of the Europa League. Now he's targeting more success at Brighton.

The Manageress

It’s 30 years since Cherie Lunghi starred in a TV drama depicting the female boss of a men’s football team. Stan Hey, the show’s creator, explains how The Manageress inspired Allardyce & Co...

The fury of Diego Simeone

The Argentine has been one of the decade’s best bosses, guiding Atletico Madrid to four European finals. If you’re a player thinking of taking a few liberties, forget it while El Cholo’s in charge.

Eni Aluko in Italy

A year after winning her 100th England cap, Eni Aluko was out of the squad and in Parliament talking about racism. Now at Juventus, she tells FourFourTwo why she had to escape the goldfish bowl.

Louis Saha: Your Questions Answered

The former Fulham, Manchester United and Everton forward discusses Fergie’s hairdryer treatment, being suspended for the 2006 World Cup Final and tweeting JK Rowling for a bit of advice.

The Players Lounge

Brian McClair talks about brawling with Arsenal and Nigel Winterburn, Paulo Futre explains why he stormed out of a West Ham game over a shirt number, Marvin Sordell opens up on his battles with depression, and Ze Roberto reveals why he owes all the success he's had in his career to his mum.

The Mixer

The gorgeous stuff we love this month, starring Messi’s special boots and Becks-inspired shoes.

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