Our abiding memories of Italia 90 are a hotchpotch of randomness: Cameroon's Benjamin Massing trying to kill Argentina's Claudio Caniggia in the opening game; Ciao – the rubbish tricolour stick-figure mascot; Luciano Pavarotti bellowing beautifully over a montage of some awful matches...
And there was England, with Gazza’s tears, David Platt’s volley and Chris Waddle’s mullet. We also got stuck into our first Panini World Cup sticker book, inspired by the Three Lions' run to the semis.
That’s why we kick off the first of three World Cup issues with a load of iconic players and stickers. This mag is bagged with the official Russia 2018 Panini sticker album, meaning the build-up to the tournament is well under way. (Anyone want to swap a Jordan Henderson for a Peru shiny? – Ed.)
As if that wasn’t enough, our cover feature this month reflects on the players who have come to define our World Cup memories, from Pele and Maradona to Cannavaro and Zidane. We also met Brazil legend Ronaldo at his house to discuss coming back from France 98 heartache to score the winning goal in the final four years later. If you weren’t excited for the World Cup, you will be now...
World Cup icons
From a one-armed Uruguayan to a German full-back’s fitting farewell, via Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick and Spain’s dynamic duo, we hail the heroes and headline moments from all 20 World Cup finals.
Between The Lines
A seizure denied Ronaldo the 1998 World Cup winner’s medal many felt he deserved. Then a string of injuries left him facing a long and painful battle against his own body for a shot at redemption.
Mucking in at 1860 Munich
With their club a mess, 1860 Munich fans have been forced to watch their side in a dilapidated old ground – not the plush arena they once shared with neighbours Bayern. And they're loving it...
"You can call me Micki"
Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived in England with a big reputation, but Jose Mourinho never really let him off the leash at Old Trafford. Now he’s got the chance to write his name into Arsenal history instead.
Football League Top 50
Yes, it’s that time of year once again! From Aston Villa through to Yeovil Town, supporters of each and every Football League club help us to rank the best players plying their trade among the 72.
Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben answers YOUR questions, including: Why didn't he join Manchester United? What's the difference between Pep and Jose? And is his right leg really 'made of chocolate'?
In our fun-packed front section, Southend manager Chris Powell answers some silly questions, Jerzy Dudek reveals the games that changed his life and Oscar talks us through his greatest goal. Plus, our columnist Lothar Matthaus has an admission to make about England at the 1990 World Cup...
He had to share a starting spot with Sandro Mazzola at the 1970 World Cup, but that didn’t stop Italy fans taking Gianni Rivera to their hearts. We also hear about Alex Ferguson's big trip to Mexico in 1986, learn the beginnings of the goalkeeper glove and remember Oxford United's former home.
Manchester City's midfield dynamo Fernandinho talks to FourFourTwo Performance about playing for Pep and idolising Kleberson as a kid. We also find out why a drone can be a tactics aid, meet the Football League's fittest goalkeeper and learn a pre-match workout that will loosen up your limbs.
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This issue of FFT was brought to you by Arjen Robben, Jerzy Dudek, Chris Powell, Landon Donovan, Oscar, Lothar Matthaus, Ronaldo, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Tom Broadbent, Ezri Konsa, Billy Kee, Aden Flint, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Ryan Sessegnon, Fernandinho and Brad Friedel.
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