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First a message from our editor, James Andrew
Several players have graced the front of FFT on multiple occasions, but it’s always nice to have a brand new star.
Bruno Fernandes gets his own cover for the first time this month, and there’s no doubt about the huge impact he has made – both at Manchester United and on the Premier League in general – since his arrival in England last year. In an exclusive chat, we find out what makes Bruno tick.
This is our 325th issue of the magazine, and one person who will have seen all 325 covers is David Kermack, a loyal subscriber since the beginning. His family got in touch to tell us he has every edition of FFT stretching back to 1994 – thank you David, and all our subscribers for your support.
Elsewhere, we reveal our annual poll of the top 50 players in the Football League – voted for by you. This year’s winner has featured in the list for a few seasons, but it could well be the last time – one way or another, he seems destined to be a Premier League player next term. Find out who it is on page 50. We also speak to Leeds’ Brazilian star Raphinha about life at Elland Road, while Steven Caulker opens up on his battles with betting and booze.
Next month, our Euros coverage will really ramp up – keep an eye out for our extensive preview to the tournament, bagged alongside the regular issue.
First though, enjoy this one – plus your free wallchart to get the juices flowing...
Bruno Fernandes exclusive
Bruno used to spend his weekends bouncing on Boavista’s terraces – now, he’s Manchester United’s greatest hope since Eric Cantona. Can the Portuguese star get the Red Devils back on their perch? He tells Andy Mitten there’s nothing else on his mind...
FourFourTwo's Football League Top 50
As is tradition by now, FFT presents our annual rundown of the finest players from outside the top flight. We really couldn't have done it without you...
Raphinha on Leeds
He’s best friends with Bruno Fernandes and holidays with Ronaldinho, but Raphinha is making his own way at Leeds. The Brazilian ace has enjoyed a flying start in England, and tells FFT why things have just clicked for him at Elland Road...
Alan Pardew answers YOUR questions
The legend of Gabriel Batistuta
When Batigol had the target in his sights, he rarely missed. FourFourTwo honours one of football’s deadliest marksmen, 30 years on from his move to Europe...
Australia 31-0 American Samoa: the real story
In 2001, Australia tore American Samoa to shreds in international football’s biggest ever beating. The result sent shockwaves through the game – but as FFT discovers from the protagonists 20 years on, not all was what it seemed
Football vs The Troubles
Northern Ireland was ravaged by violent conflict for three decades, and football didn’t escape the suffering. Abuse, explosions and gun-wielding motorcyclists made for a miserable existence… until hope replaced fear
Steven Caulker's road to redemption
He was an England international at 20, but already wrestling the demons of addiction that made for a living hell. The defender explains how battles with betting and the booze nearly led to tragedy, until recovery took him to ultimate fulfilment in Turkey’s top flight
In the Players Lounge...
Jamie Carragher recalls his wild night in a lift after the 2005 Champions League Final, Luis Boa Morte chats Grange Hill, Elano explains what happens when you ask Robinho to track back, and Michael Bridges discusses the injury hell that took him to some dark places
Going Around The Grounds...
Torquay United boss Gary Johnson is doing his best to steer the Seagulls back into the Football League after seven years away, but he's also got some stories to tell. He remembers managing from hospital, aggravating Graham Taylor, going big in Latvia and making a fine discovery...
Elsewhere, columnist Ian Holloway recalls Blackpool's magical 2009-10 campaign which stunned the country, we detail Merthyr Town's year of inactivity, Blackburn are in focus for Best & Worst, while we bring you George Best's bizarre time at Bournemouth and English football's ultimate battle: Peterborough vs Posh Spice.
Of course there's more...
Yessir. Madness frontman Suggs answers our questions about Chelsea, we catch up with former Arsenal centre-back Johan Djourou at Nordsjælland, investigate why Zlatan Ibrahimovic is basically the next Pavarotti, explore football's curious Bermuda Triangle and lots, lots more.
As ever, we'll also bring you our regular quiz, and more of the best stories from Planet Football. Don't miss it!
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