In the mag: The 50 greatest players EVER! Plus Champions League knockouts preview, exclusive interview with Miguel Almiron and more

FourFourTwo issue 349
(Image credit: Future)

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First a message from our editor, James Andrew:

The terms ‘Greatest of All Time’ and slightly more tedious ‘GOAT’ have been common in football lexicon for years.

And like all things they get used out of context – there have been references to players being GOATs in League Two and games where it is the battle of the GOATs – by definition both are wrong.

Anyway, when it comes to picking the best player of all time, younger fans will say the argument of late has been between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Those a bit older will say that neither are fit to lace either Diego Maradona or Pele’s boots, while others may plump for Ferenc Puskas or Zinedine Zidane as their number one.

Many feel the debate is settled now that Messi has won a World Cup (despite the fact Pele won three), but the truth is there is no right or wrong answer – it’s just an opinion and everyone has different opinions. That is absolutely fine.

This month we enter the discussion with our take on the top 50 players ever – some of you will agree and some will think we’ve got it horribly wrong. Feel free to let us know by using #FFT50 on social media.

What this list has enabled us to do is pay tribute to the great Pele, who sadly passed away at the end of December, and look back at his glittering career.

Enjoy the mag.

The greatest players... ever!

FourFourTwo issue 349

The greatest players... ever! (Image credit: Future)

Messi’s World Cup triumph and Pele’s passing prompted discussion aplenty about the finest footballers ever to play the beautiful game – now, FFT presents to you our definitive ranking from Dalglish to Di Stefano. 

Don’t agree? Of course you don’t! Tell us at #FFT50

Pele: the World Cup’s finest

FourFourTwo issue 349

Pele: the World Cup’s finest (Image credit: Future)

O Rei dominated the World Cup, and the globe – and his legacy stays strong. Oh, and he did once do it in Stoke, too

Lionel Messi: legacy complete

FourFourTwo issue 349

Lionel Messi: legacy complete (Image credit: Future)

In Doha, the Argentine confirmed himself as the greatest. What does it mean at home? This is the inside story of the Barça legend’s triumph in Qatar

Keira Walsh is at the wheel

FourFourTwo issue 349

Exclusive interview: Keira Walsh is at the wheel (Image credit: Future)

The Lioness star had a majestic 2022, winning the Euros with England and joining Barcelona for a world-record fee, all just three years after she had nearly given up on football. The pass-master reveals how she revitalised her career, and why she now has a bus named after her.

11 things to look forward to in the Champions League knockouts

FourFourTwo issue 349

Champions League knockout preview: 11 things to look forward to (Image credit: Future)

After a longer break than ever, Europe’s biggest club competition returns for the knockout stages. There's an unheralded right-back seeking a record and a self-heralded Swede on the warpath, among nine other things we can't wait for.

Manchester United’s 90s Rotterdam glory

FourFourTwo issue 349

Manchester United’s 90s Rotterdam glory (Image credit: Future)

Manchester United and Barcelona meet in the Europa League this month, 32 years after they faced off in a Cup Winners’ Cup final – the one that set Alex Ferguson’s behemoth on its way to glory. Andy Mitten revisits the famous 1991 final.

Miguel Almiron eyes the Champions League

FourFourTwo issue 349

Exclusive interview: Miguel Almiron eyes the Champions League (Image credit: Future)

Newcastle is a city that appreciates hard work, and Miguel Almiron’s graft, endeavour and enthusiasm bought him a rare commodity in football: time. Four years after arriving on Tyneside, the Paraguayan winger is flying – and it has nothing to do with Jack Grealish... He tells Andrew Murray how to really 'play like Almiron'.

Germany’s maddest champions

FourFourTwo issue 349

Germany’s maddest champions (Image credit: Future)

Newly promoted Kaiserslautern stunned football a quarter of a century ago when they won the 1997/98 Bundesliga title. Otto Rehhagel, some nasal strips and the mother of all managerial meltdowns were vital, but it all began with Bayern Munich sowing the seeds of their own downfall… Uli Hesse tells the story of the maddest German title win ever.

Match-fixing regrets: Between The Lines

FourFourTwo issue 349

Match-fixing regrets: Between The Lines (Image credit: Future)

Moses Swaibu was attracting Premier League clubs’ attentions when he first collided with the murky world of match-fixing. The ex-Lincoln defender recalls how he came to be in the grip of organised crime and why a spell in jail turned his life around.

Around The Grounds

FourFourTwo issue 349

Around The Grounds (Image credit: Future)

Our dedicated section for all things EFL, non-league and Scotland finds us chatting to Millwall manager Gary Rowett about how he tamed The Lions. Stevenage Chairman Phil Wallace explains the club's unexpected revival from non-league oblivion to giant-killers, and From the Finney podcast host Jake Oates talks us through the Best & Worst Preston players, matches and managers ever seen at Deepdale. James Trafford (on loan from Manchester City) has been a rare ray of light in goal at Bolton, so we profile him, while Swansea's 1995-96 home shirt has been sentenced to a spell in HMS Kit Crime prison. Hereford 2-1 Newcastle still haunts the Toon 51 years later, and we've revised the day the Bulls charged into the history books. In Scotland, Steven Pressley's record transfer to Dundee United in 1995 is explored and some rare Queen's Park claims to fame are explored (did you know they introduced the crossbar to the laws of football?)

Arrigo Sacchi answers YOUR questions

FourFourTwo issue 349

Arrigo Sacchi answers YOUR questions (Image credit: Future)

The Italian managed some of the greatest teams and players involved in football across the 80s and 90s. Now he's answering FourFourTwo readers' questions. Berlusconi, Van Basten and Milan magic are all covered.


FourFourTwo issue 349

Upfront (Image credit: Future)

The focal point of this month's FourFourTwo finds Sergio Aguero dressed as a clown, Joe Cole dribbling down memory lane, the indomitable FFT quiz, Alexander Mitrovic and Aboubakar Kamara kicking off during yoga, Louis Tomlinson name-dropping Ronaldinho and James Coppinger, Tony Adams in Azerbaijan, a Q&A with the 30-year-old English boss taking on Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, plus some biblically bad transfer market mistakes.

Players' Lounge

Kicking back in the FourFourTwo Players' Lounge this week are: Claudio Pizarro, Brian Little, Raymond van der Gouw and Dominic Matteo. Discussion points range from co-owning racehorses with Joey Barton and working as a PE teacher, to brain surgery and being scouted by Stanley Matthews

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Matthew Ketchell
Deputy Editor

Ketch joined FourFourTwo as Deputy Editor in 2022 having wracked up appearances at Reach PLC as a Northern Football Editor and BBC Match of the Day magazine as their Digital Editor and Senior Writer. During that time he has interviewed the likes of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Gareth Southgate and attended World Cup and Champions League finals. He co-hosts a '90s football podcast called ‘Searching For Shineys’, is a Newcastle United season ticket holder and has an expensive passion for collecting classic football shirts.