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In the mag: 2021 Awards! Jorginho, Rice, Brereton Diaz, Hayes, Evra exclusives + Messi, Lewandowski, Saint & Greavsie + EXCLUSIVE 2022 calendar

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First a message from our editor, James Andrew:

To borrow a football analogy, 2021 was a year of two halves. In the UK, we began the year in lockdown, with games played in empty stadiums. Thankfully, we ended it with fans back in the stands where they belong. 

While fake crowd noise was a brain-numbing necessity during those dark days behind closed doors, nothing could ever replace the roar of a real crowd backing their team. 

One man who did get to celebrate in front of real people, in a frankly greedy year, was Jorginho – after claiming Champions League glory in Porto with Chelsea, his Italy side broke English hearts at Wembley to win the Euros. In this issue, the Blues metronome talks FFT through it all. 

Declan Rice is another midfielder who’s enjoyed a fine year for club and country – so it was no wonder he was in particularly cheery spirits when we chatted to him about the best year of his life so far. We also spoke to Chelsea Women’s relentless trophy-hunter Emma Hayes, plus Blackburn’s Stoke-born Chile sensation Ben Brereton Diaz about his baffling, bonkers rise to fame in South America.

If last year’s wish was for things to return to normal, then the hope for 2022 is that they stay that way. OK, so maybe a bit of madness wouldn’t go amiss...

2022 calendar for EVERY reader

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Jorginho's greedy year

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Jorginho has hoovered up Champions League and Euros trophies in 2021 to silence the critics for good. The midfielder reflects on his brilliant year with FFT: stuffing Man City, Azzurri hysteria, meditation and all. Ommm…

Declan Rice, in his own words

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In a stunning year, Rice has helped his country reach a major tournament final for the first time since the 1966 World Cup, and West Ham to their furthest point in Europe for 40 years. Ask the midfield maestro himself, though, and it’s merely a starting point…

Leo Messi's redemption

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Messi has enjoyed a glorious club career – but it’s been a different story for his country. Four disastrous finals had left locals lamenting a doomed figure… until last summer’s exploits

Lewy vs Gerd

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After missing out on a cancelled Ballon d’Or in 2020, Lewy exploded into 2021. The Pole made more Bayern Munich history with a fitting tribute to Gerd Muller in the year of his passing – but there’s still one final Bomber best to conquer...

Patrice Evra answers YOUR questions

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Why did Fergie threaten to sue him? What made him grab Nemanja Vidic by the throat? And why the heck did he lick a dead chicken? The ex-Manchester United ace answers all and more...

The boy's a bit loco

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In 2020, Ben Brereton Diaz was innocently minding his own business in the Championship… until all hell broke loose. A social media frenzy helped the Stoke-born Blackburn forward get a Chile call-up in May – and that was merely the beginning of his utterly bonkers year, as the man himself recalls to FFT...

Emma Hayes: super spy?

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Hayes entered the WSL’s Hall of Fame after steering Chelsea to a fourth title in 2021 – but the job in which she’s making history was essentially a very happy accident. As the fascinating Blues boss tells FFT, a life of hard graft and dashed espionage dreams have led her down a rather different path to success...

Denmark: Team of the Year

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They began their Euro 2020 campaign with Christian Eriksen’s harrowing on-pitch cardiac arrest, before roaring back to reach the semi-finals. This is the story of how a team, and entire nation, came together as one

Patrik Schick's Scotland stunner

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Schick's halfway-line missile ruined Scotland’s biggest day for 23 years at Euro 2020 – but as the man himself explains, even he wasn’t sure about it... 

Raheem's big dream

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As a boy, the Neasden local had his heart set on starring for England at Wembley. Last summer, he did just that as their undisputed star of Euro 2020 – and hasn’t forgotten his roots

Saint & Greavsie remembered

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The ex-strikers’ fledgling 1985 show could have fallen on its backside at a dark time for British football – instead, it shaped telly as we know it. Edgy jokes, ingenious puppetry and even a future American president made it a beloved success...

Suarez's sweet revenge

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Unceremoniously dumped by Ronald Koeman in an infamous 40-second phone call, Luis Suarez responded in the only way he knew how – by winning the league as Barcelona imploded

In the Players Lounge...

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Paul Ince reveals why he's still angry at Ronald Koeman, Paulo Sousa loses his Rolex to Paul Lambert, Rob Green remembers World Cup misery, while Mark Clattenburg explains what it's really like to ref Craig Bellamy. 

Going Around The Grounds...

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St Johnstone chief Callum Davidson reflects on a historic Double-winning campaign, facing off with Galatasaray and being coached by... Judy Murray? 

Elsewhere, columnist Ian Holloway lets rip on the January transfer window, we hear the sky-high tales of British Airways FC, remember when Ipswich (literally) ruled the internet, visit England's unluckiest club in Gloucester City, and profile Bournemouth in our regular Best & Worst segment. 

Upfront...

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It's all going on in Planet Football – not least our story about new Hajduk Split boss Valdas Dambrauskas, who got his big coaching break thanks to... er, the Lithuanian Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

We caught up with Bologna's flying Scottish full-back Aaron Hickey, ask ex-Rangers man Mark Hateley some silly questions, get the games that changed Roberto Carlos' life, hear from the Durham native looking to make Canadian history, and ask Crystal Palace nut Doc Brown about his heroic new neighbour.   

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Joe Brewin

Joe is the Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo, having risen through the FFT academy and been on the brand since 2013 in various capacities. 


By weekend and frustrating midweek night he is a Leicester City fan, and in 2020 co-wrote the autobiography of former Foxes winger Matt Piper – subsequently listed for both the Telegraph and William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.