NEW ISSUE Galacticos Reunited, 10 years on: Zizou, Ronaldo, Figo & Bobby Carlos talk to FFT
Ten years ago, FourFourTwo collected Galacticos. Our iconic March 2003 issue featured Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, among others, on what it's like inside the world's biggest club.
Things have changed a lot since, but to mark the 10th anniversary we tracked down all four legends, shoved them in the famous shirts Ã¢ÂÂ now officially retro, and no jokes about Ronaldo please Ã¢ÂÂ and asked them again about the majesty and madness of millennial Madrid: "We were like The Beatles," says Figo.
In a compelling 20-page special, Zizou reveals that he cried before his final game, while all involved speak of the fun they had Ã¢ÂÂ on and off the pitch. "Look at us on that cover," says Figo: "Everyone is laughing." No wonder. "We were like kids enjoying ourselves on the pitch," says Roberto Carlos. "I was lucky to be able to play with those players," agrees Zizou, while Ronaldo simply says: "It was wonderful". He's not wrong. Read all about it in the new issue Ã¢ÂÂ out Wed 1 May.
There may never be another Galacticos project, but the name is often mentioned when clubs buy big names for big money. One such club is Paris Saint-Germain, who shelled out Ã¢ÂÂ¬43m on Brazilian prodigy Lucas Moura Ã¢ÂÂ and again FFT is right there with him.
Hopping into Lucas's white Porsche Cayenne, we go on a turbocharged tour of Paris while he talks openly about his humble childhood, his decision not to move to Manchester United, Brazil's World Cup chances and his plans to topple the great Leo Messi.
The millionaires might be getting younger, but at the other end of the age scale some players are playing into their late thirties. So why did Michael Owen retire at 33? FFT investigates the theories behind burnout, quizzing the experts and discovering how sports-science centres like the Milan Lab are analysing the psychology behind longevity.
One man who played on to his late thirties was Lee Dixon, and the Arsenal legend is this month's One on One victim, discussing his anger towards George Graham, the time he pinched Patrick Vieira's car keys, how he could have stopped Ryan Giggs in 1999 and why he swapped the BBC for ITV.
But FourFourTwo has never been just about the big names and bright lights, and we spent Easter with the homeless: namely Gateshead, who have been on the road since January due to a turfing mishap. As the manager says, "Maybe we'll be a really good away side next season..."
We also hear another side of football from disabled fans, learning what it's like to get "coined" in your wheelchair or toppled over in crowd surges Ã¢ÂÂ and how facilities have improved surprisingly slowly: at the 1999 Champions League final, disabled fans were given a letterbox view of the pitch which didn't include either goalÃ¢ÂÂ¦
FFT also journeys back in time to the Victorian era, when football was first codified Ã¢ÂÂ but players smoked their pipes, used their hands, "hacked" each other with impunity and used people as the woodwork.
We also glance back to Lazio's 1974 Scudetto-winning team, the Italian Crazy Gang who upset the established order, the opposition and each other, their absorbing story ending in tragedy.
Plus: The amazing first column from our new writer Diego Forlan, a fascinating Champions League finals infographic and picture special, what autographs say about a player and, in our Performance playing-advice section, a masterclass from Michu.
FOURFOURTWO NOW ON iPAD! The world's greatest football magazine is now available on iPad. Featuring everything in the magazine with added interactivity Ã¢ÂÂ this monthÃ¢ÂÂs moving-picture highlights include Lucas juggling a ball on his Parisien balcony and Michu chatting about his favourite training drill Ã¢ÂÂ the iPad app is available for free here.
This issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by Lee Dixon, Adrian Chiles, Ibrahim Affelay, Gianluca Vialli, the Deaf Champions League, Irvine Welsh, MOTD2 editor Stephen Lyle, Andy Hinchcliffe, Diego Forlan, The Player, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Michel Salgado, Manchester United head of fitness and conditioning Tony Strudwick, Southampton head of sports science Mo Gimpel, Javier Zanetti, Martin Keown, Professor Magni Mohr, Lucas Moura, Gateshead chairman Graham Wood, Gateshead manager Anth Smith and various "Heed Army" fans, disabled supporters Chas Banks, Phil Downs, Kevin Peek and Melvin Collins, Italian journalist Francesco Recanatesi, Felice Pulici, Luigi Martini, Bob McNab, Rene Girard, Carlos Ruiz, Tom Dent, Pablo Luguercio, Antonio Luiz Neto, Jesus Tricolor (no, really), Everton strength and conditioning coach Dave Billows, Willian, Sebastian Bassong, Michu, Mikel Arteta, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Stuart Pearce, Nathan Ellington and Sami Hyypia.