In the mag: Özil, FFT's Top 100 Players in the World, football's Stateside rock stars, tifos...
In the new issue of the world’s greatest football magazine - available in print and in a specially-designed-for-iPad version - we meet the man letting Arsenal dare to dream of the Premier League title again: Mesut Özil. After endless transfer windows of false hope and ridicule, nobody was sneering when Arsene Wenger secured the £42.5m coup of Real Madrid's assist machine.
So far he hasn't disappointed either, linking up with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud in a way that makes those inside the Emirates Stadium feel all warm and gooey inside (unless they're in the away end). We delve deeper into the career of the 25-year-old passmaster to find out more about his roots in Gelsenkirchen, what he really thinks of the dual nationaly debate and why he couldn't say no to the Gunners' influential manager.
The arguing is over, the results are in and the people have had their say on Twitter (believe us, they really have) - but what about the men themselves? And what about our brand new No.1? We chat to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Borussia Dortmund duo Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Santi Cazorla, Sergio Ramos, Pedro, Alvaro Negredo and more to find out what makes them tick. And, of course, we've got the full list covered for your inevitable disagreement. Find us (but come on, we've got feelings too y'know) at #FFT100.
You've all heard of the days when Pele & Co. ruled the States, but what exactly happened in that pre-MLS party period when the American game was run by rock stars, movie moguls and music bigwigs? FFT winds it back to a time of pop stars and entertaining reckless spending to discover how the New York Cosmos, Los Angeles Aztecs and Philadelphia Fury made 'soccer' more about the likes of Elton John and Led Zeppelin than those funny men on the pitch.
Ask most football fans to recall their childhood memories of going to football and most will reminisce about spending more time watching the crowd than the game itself. But while that might be more to do with the sweary chap behind your dad, the creative fanatics below make crowd watching a valid main attraction. We track down the masterminds behind the greatest tifos (essentially huge banners and/or displays) from across the world to find out how it's done. From Dortmund to... erm, Crystal Palace, FFT gets the lowdown on the most witty and downright dirty displays from those who know best.
The modern-day footballer might think he's got it tough around the festive period, but back int'day they'd have been expected to shelve their turkey feast and pull on their boots for Christmas Day. From the Leyton Orient player who turned up sozzled to the goalkeeper who couldn't see his team-mates for fog, we reflect on the yuletime yo-ho-ing in the days before our pampered preeners were given the afternoon off...
We've all chuckled at Mean Machine (and not in the way it was intended) and revelled in the glory of Escape to Victory - but what really goes on in a real prison football team? FFT forgets all inhibitions and goes behind the bars of Guernsey's Les Nicolles Prison to find out whether the Beautiful Game is doing good for the Channel Island's hardened criminals.
Third-party ownership is more confusing than an algorhythm is to a Page Three model, so we thought we'd try and shed some light on the situation. With Neymar reported to have received a whopping sign-on bonus of around €40m at Barcelona and an estimated 90 per cent of top players tied to investors, we investigate the extracurricular backroom practices to find out what on earth goes on alongside those plain old contracts.
He might have been sacked by Stoke and maligned to the point of tedium, but you can't say Tony Pulis isn't a man of principles (or success, for that matter). Now back in the big time with Crystal Palace, the Welshman welcomed us into his home for a frank interview on his managerial methods, what's wrong with English football and that naked headbutt incident with James Beattie...
The January 2014 issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil, Marco Reus, Mario Götze, Jordi Alba, Tony Pulis, Marouane Fellaini, Dennis Tueart, Fred, Pedro, Paulo Andre, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Negredo, Andre Ayew, Terry Mancini, Terry Fisher, Luke Graham, Santi Cazorla, Nemanja Vidic, Martin Allen, Robbie Fowler, Adie Pennock, Kevin Gallacher, Robbie Russell, Harry Redknapp, Jack Rodwell, Keith Gillespie, Phil Brown, Dean Holdsworth, Paulinho, Ray Ranson, Pete Smith, Diego Forlan, Danny Murphy, Yildiray Basturk, Rick Wakeman, Roberto Soldado, Maicon, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Guernsey's prison team, the keeper-turned-striker and an 81-year-old footballer.