FourFourTwo's 2016 in photography: the stories behind our year with football's biggest names

The year 2016 may not have been a great one for civilisation as a whole, but it's been a great one for FourFourTwo photography

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Eric Abidal

February 2016
Photography: Pep Avila

We went One-on-One with the former Barcelona and France defender at the start of the year. He told us that his old boss at Camp Nou, Pep Guardiola, wasn’t afraid to break out the hairdryer when necessary. “Of course I saw him get angry. It’s the same with every coach,” Abidal told us. A warning for Man City?

Romelu Lukaku

February 2016
Photography: Matt Stewart

If our meeting with the Everton goal machine taught us anything, it was that we should always listen to our mothers. Lukaku did that, when his told him to make the move from Chelsea's bench to Goodison Park. “Roberto Martinez called me three times and I didn’t pick up on the first two, so I’m glad I answered eventually,” Lukaku said in our February 2016. “I discussed it with him, I spoke to Chelsea, I spoke to my mother, and eventually she said: ‘Go to Everton.’ I haven’t regretted it.” Toffees fans will hope Mrs L is currently saying 'stay put'.

Eidur Gudjohnsen

March 2016
Photography: Manu Fernandez

Sometimes when we meet a footballer, we can't resist asking them questions that are a little 'out there'. "Yes, of course I've shopped at Iceland," former Chelsea, Barcelona and... Iceland forward Gudjohnsen told us with a smirk. "Whenever I missed home, I went shopping in Iceland! Not really. I’ve only been in there once and didn’t buy anything."

Dele Alli

April 2016
Photography: Shamil Tanna

“I didn’t realise how good it was until all the guys were talking about it in the changing room,” Dele Alli humbly said of his worldie at Selhurst Park, when speaking to FFT a few weeks later. “Obviously it was a great goal and I’m proud to have scored it, but I was surprised by the reaction.” All in a day's work for a player who'd gone from League One to FourFourTwo cover star in little over 18 months.

Riyad Mahrez

April 2016
Photography: SM2 Studio

The key to a good photoshoot is doing something different. That's why we roped in Filbert the Fox to help when we shot Leicester's soon-to-be title-winning wideman. The results - much like Leicester's at the time - were brilliant. The Foxes may now be world famous, but when the Algeria international made the move to the East Midlands in January 2014, that certainly wasn't the case. “I didn’t know Leicester,” Mahrez told us with a shrug. “In France we didn’t really [know them] because they were in the Championship. I thought they were a rugby club!" He can't be accused of not doing his bit to help 'grow the brand'.