When FourFourTwo met up with Xavi in Qatar, it turned out that what he really wanted to talk about was Craig Gardner. And Matt Le Tissier. And Brentford.
The Barcelona legend speaks like he's never spoken before about exactly why he's English football's No.1 fan, in an exclusive interview with a difference.
The midfield maestro tells us why England can win the Euros and discusses everything from Leicester, Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp to Jack Wilshere, Jose Mourinho and Eric Cantona – oh, and he's got plenty of thoughts on Manchester City's swoop for his old boss Pep Guardiola too.
The 36-year-old also unveils his plan to manage Barcelona as he reflects on a glittering career that has delivered four Champions League trophies, two European Championship triumphs and one World Cup. Even after all of that, it still only takes one mention of Le Tiss to make him go weak at the knees.
It's that time of year again as FFT runs through the top 50 players in the Football League – as voted for by you, the fans. We travelled up and down the country to interview the best players in each division and find out who's aiming to become the next Jamie Vardy, which lower-league ace owns 65 pairs of trainers and the Football League star who has no idea how to pronounce the name ‘Konstantin Kerschbaumer’.
Let us know whether you agree with our list on Twitter using #FLtop50. (We know you will.)
This month's One-on-One interview is with David Bentley, and he doesn't hold back on the truth of a fascinating and sometimes controversial career. Does he regret his England under-21 snub? Was drenching Harry Redknapp with water a good move? Why did he fall out of love with the game? And which player left a turd in his wash bag? The former Tottenham, Arsenal and Blackburn midfielder has his suspicions...
Two years ago, Jay Rodriguez was scoring goals for fun and on the verge of England's World Cup squad. Then on April 5, 2014, the Southampton forward suffered the injury that every footballer dreads, rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a game at Manchester City.
Now on the comeback trail once more, Rodriguez tells FFT what it's like to battle back from an ACL injury – re-living the heartbreak and the setbacks that led to his darkest days, and outlining his determination to regain the form he proved he's capable of. That elusive second England cap remains in his sights.
If you want to watch Chelsea's next generation of talent, head to the Netherlands and to Vitesse Arnhem. FFT did just that and found five Blues youngsters currently on loan, taking the tally to 19 loanees since summer 2010. Do fans fear the Eredivisie club is losing its identity?
Crossing: what's the point? It's a question that flies in the face of English traditions, but does the tactic actually work? FFT speaks to the experts and finds some surprising answers.
We also meet the man who makes non-league programmes, as well as looking back at the story of football's first world tour. It's the tale of Islington Corinthians (what do you mean, you've never heard of them?), featuring barefoot Indians teams, over-enthusiastic Egyptians and a jaguar. Not the car, an actual jaguar.
FFT also delves into the history of music in football and is shocked to discover a rapping Brian Clough.
In Upfront, Jan Aage Fjortoft talks trainspotting and his all-consuming fear of snowmen in Ask A Silly Question, Lucio is the subject of Games That Changed My Life and we meet the non-league striker closing in on 100 goals for the season. One hundred. Wow.
Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis is this month's interviewee in Planet Football and talks Chelsea, Mourinho and London traffic, as well explaining why he hopes Diego Simeone can become the Alex Ferguson of Madrid. Bebe speaks about his time at Manchester United, Zico reveals how he perfected the scorpion kick long before Rene Higuita, and we speak to the key figures at Parma about selfies and sacrifices in Serie D.
In Performance, Rio Ferdinand explains how to win when it matters most, Benik Afobe gives a Masterclass in scoring at any level and Ze Roberto outlines the secret to playing into your forties. Go get it!
The May 2016 issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by Xavi, David Bentley, Lucio, Marc Overmars, Filipe Luis, Jay Rodriguez, Bebe, Zico, Rio Ferdinand, Jan Aage Fjortoft, Martin Keown, Andy Cole, Ze Roberto, Stuart Ripley, Dean Windass, Josh Windass, Gareth Southgate, Anthony Knockaert, Benik Afobe, Sam Vokes, Jimmy Bullard, Andre Gray, Luigi Apolloni, Jason Wilcox, Phil Brown, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Alan Judge, Gareth Ainsworth, Lorenzo Pasciuti, Sam Hutchinson, Allan Russell, Peter Hart, Alessandro Lucarelli, James Maddison, Liam Palmer, Charles Taylor, Peter Bosz, Kemar Roofe, Felipe Barcelos, Bradley Dack, Raphael Odogwu, Ashley Flynn, Mike Rayner and Stuart Fuller. Available from April 6 in print, on iPad and on iPhone. Subscribe!
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