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In the mag: Lionesses exclusive! Plus Maradona in Mexico, Ward-Prowse, Richarlison, Puyol and more

Get your hands on the July 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine – available in print or on iPad and iPhone – from Wednesday, July 5

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First a note from our editor, James Brown.

I was lying in bed awake at 4.30 on a dark Tuesday morning when a photograph of Diego Maradona WhatsApped its way into my life. I spent a long time punching the air because we’d sent Andy Mitten off to the most dangerous part of Mexico the night before, on the off chance he could get to the infamous footballing legend. I didn’t expect to see Diego lying on a pitch at Dorados 24 hours later, reading our Marcelo Bielsa feature. As Swansea full-back Dylan Thomas said, ambition is critical.

The Women’s World Cup is upon us and we’ve interviewed five of the Lionesses for this month’s cover story about their hopes for the tournament. It’s the first time women players have appeared exclusively on FFT's cover, and Suzanne Wrack and Anna Kessel’s pieces on the England girls give you everything you need to know about Phil Neville’s team. Let’s hope that by the end of the month, Fran Kirby, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh, Demi Stokes and captain Steph Houghton are household names.

This month we have introduced The Players Lounge, guaranteeing four more interviews per issue. Meanwhile, the old favourites are still going well: Luther Blissett’s Ask A Silly Question is excellent and we have a cracking profile of Barcelona legend Carles Puyol. It’s been an amazing end to the football season, but we’ll be going strong online, on social and in print across the summer. Enjoy the mag.

LIONESSES LET LOOSE

Bronze medalists in Canada four years ago, the Lionesses are ready to roar once more. FFT meet England’s pride to discuss World Cup hopes, inspiring young girls, and a fish called Goater...

COPA AMERICA MADNESS

This summer, Brazil hosts to the 46th edition of football’s most bonkers international tournament. Don’t believe us? Watch out for mass brawls, sordid shenanigans and drink-driving midfielders.

FINDING DIEGO

FFT travels deep into Mexican drug cartel country to track down the Argentine, where we find a man loving life managing Dorados de Sinaloa, and more than happy to lend a hand at Old Trafford.

WATCHING DIEGO

Almost 40 years in the making, a new film may be the defining account of football’s flawed genius.

JAMES WARD-PROWSE

Southampton starlets have a reputation for being nice young men, but adding a mean streak has helped James Ward-Prowse’s career – and his devilish dead-balls haven’t done him any harm…

THE AMAZING KIDNAPPING OF ALFREDO DI STEFANO

In 1963, the most famous footballer in the world was taken hostage by ‘communist guerrillas’ in Venezuela, leaving the Real Madrid icon fearing for his life... and his lovely Fred Perry polo shirt.

CARLES PUYOL

Even the Barcelona vintage of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta needed a rock to do their dirty work. The club’s longest-serving captain reflects on a stellar career and the importance of giving something back.

RICHARLISON

The Brazilian's stunner against Manchester United was surely the highlight of his debut season at Everton. Now, having made Goodison Park feel like home, all he needs to do is try some toffee...

THE PLAYERS LOUNGE

Carlos Valderrama reveals who was crazier out of Rene Higuita and Faustino Asprilla, Jay-Jay Okocha remembers happier times at Bolton, Warren Barton admits which Crazy Gang member scared Vinnie Jones, and Fara Williams explains how football helped her while she was homeless.

YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS: PAUL ROBINSON

The former Leeds, Tottenham and England goalkeeper talks scoring goals, training with John Burridge, that backpass from Gary Neville in Croatia, and starring in a chicken advert at Blackburn.

UPFRONT

Irvine Welsh talks Hibernian in My Football, Paul McGrath lists the games that changed his life, Jordon Mutch discusses moving to South Korea, Jon Macken recalls his dramatic FA Cup winner for Manchester City at Spurs, and Luther Blissett answers silly questions about zombies and the Bible.

THE MIXER

This month’s best football gear from around the globe, including France Women’s classy World Cup kits, an ode to Adriano, retro Puma Roma trainers and Torquay’s delicious 120th anniversary top.

The July 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine is brought to you by Paul Robinson, Paul McGrath, Luther Blissett, Lothar Matthaus, Jordon Mutch, Jon Macken, Michael Johnson, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Fran Kirby, Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Nicole McClure, Caroline Seger, Diego Maradona, Asif Kapadia, James Ward-Prowse, Jason Dodd, Carles Puyol, Xavi, Eric Abidal, Joan Capdevila, Richarlison, Carlos Valderrama, Jay-Jay Okocha, Warren Barton, Fara Williams and John Toshack.

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