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In the mag: Lionel Messi at Barcelona – the truth! PLUS Yeboah, Maradona, Willian, Ancelotti, Johnny Marr, transfer bust-ups and more

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First a message from our editor, James Andrew

Lionel Messi stunned football when he told Barcelona that he wanted to leave in August. His move was more than a transfer request: it was a major political act that exacerbated the many issues plaguing life in Catalonia. 

In this issue, we get to the heart of what really happened in a stormy summer, speaking to those behind the scenes about the root of his unhappiness. What does the fallout mean right now? And then that big question: will Messi be a Premier League player in 2021? Manchester City are ready to make their move.

He’s not the only Argentine in focus this month, however. Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore Diego Maradona or his colourful existence on and off the pitch. As he turns 60, we celebrate one of the game’s greatest ever entertainers in the form of untold stories from a crazy career. 

Here's what else you can look forward to... 

Lionel Messi: the truth

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Public feuds, boardroom brawling and one almighty transfer saga have made for a bitter civil war at Barcelona, and the world’s greatest ever footballer could be its biggest casualty. Andy Mitten discovers what’s gone wrong for Lionel Messi in Catalonia... and why he might become a Premier League player next year.

Claude Makelele answers YOUR questions

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Was he truly appreciated as a Galactico at Real Madrid? What's it like to have a position named after you? And what did he think when Jose Mourinho popped out of that laundry basket? All of those posers you submitted answered – and more... 

Biggest transfer bust-ups EVER

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Ever heard the one about the club whose owners keep getting assassinated? Roll up, roll up for the madness!

Willian exclusive

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He’s only been a Gunner since August, but Willian is already a big fan of his new surroundings after swapping Chelsea for Arsenal – and the feelings are mutual. The Brazilian reveals how magic Mikel can keep his trophy-winning legacy burning bright.

Tony Yeboah exclusive

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He came; he saw; he bullied footballs. Two and a half decades on from becoming a cult hero at Leeds, Tony Yeboah shares his memories with FourFourTwo – memories of rockets, racism and a certain Sunday staple...

Maradona: the untold stories

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For better or worse, they just don’t make them like El Diego any more. FFT celebrates the joy, destruction and downright madness of football’s most entertaining figure – via two Scudetti and an incredible World Cup.

Qatar: the road to 2022

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Pariahs of the Gulf, Qatar are also Asian champions, thanks to a long-term plan to revamp their football fortunes. With two years until their World Cup debut, what are their realistic hopes as hosts?

Double life of Douglas Ross

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Scottish Tories leader by day, elite assistant ref by night: who says all politicians are alike? The flagging MP tells FFT how he juggles two of the UK’s least popular professions.

The redemption of Carlo Ancelotti

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Things unravelled for the Italian legend after he led Real Madrid to La Decima, but Everton’s seven wins in a row at the start of the new season provided early signs that he hasn’t lost his touch. Can he guide the Toffees back into Europe?

Johnny Marr on Man City

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The Smiths founder and guitar icon on why Fernandinho would be a great best mate and the time Martin O’Neill turned up at an Oasis gig.

Gonzalo Higuain in Miami

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The 32-year-old striker has linked up with David Beckham at MLS new boys Inter Miami, after spells with Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea...

In the Players Lounge...

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Adebayo Akinfenwa chats WWE and rebuffing offers from Iraq, Park Ji-sung remembers annoying Andrea Pirlo, Jose Enrique backs Alan Shearer the boss and ex-ref Jeff Winter reveals his secret life as a super fan. 

And there's more...

Louis Saha answers daft questions, Jamie Redknapp recalls his greatest ever games, Freddy Adu returns in an unexpected place, we report on the world's worst local derby and rank the EFL's finest bosses of all time.

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