It’s June. The World Cup is upon us. And apart from a television to watch it on and friends to watch it with, there’s only one more thing you need in your life. That’s right: it’s FourFourTwo's World Cup special, available in print and in a specially-designed-for-iPad version.
We’ve pulled out all the stops for the July issue of FFT. With so many free-scoring forwards ready to run riot and a few shaky defences quaking in their boots, Brazil 2014 promises to take recent World Cups and out-goal them all. So who else could we speak to but the Golden Boot-chasing strikers themselves?
Predictably, Lionel Messi is favourite to be top scorer at this World Cup, something no Argentine has achieved since Mario Kempes on home soil in 1978. But it’s not the individual award he’s after. The Flea is gagging for Argentina to succeed after a disappointing tournament in 2010, and as he tells FourFourTwo, he’d even trade every Ballon d’Or he’s ever won – all four of them – for a first World Cup winner’s medal.
Messi’s desire, even desperation, to lift the big one poses the question: does he have it in him to emulate Diego Maradona in 1986 and guide, as captain, Argentina to glory? The pair’s careers have mirrored and intertwined but only a World Cup win will end people’s doubts that the new incarnation is one of history’s greatest ever footballers. We ask: can Messi match Maradona?
Next stop on our list of Golden Boot wannabes is a man who may be even more unpopular among the home crowd than an Argentine. Diego Costa turned his back on Brazil to play for the world champions and now he explains, “I owe Spain my life”. Buy the magazine to read why that is – and why our interview begins with the words, “You’re a f***ing p***k”...
And that’s not all. Edinson Cavani reveals his rivalry with Uruguay team-mate Luis Suarez and how it will spur them on to glory. Then there’s Sergio Aguero on how he never thought he’d get into the Argentina team, and we’ve even thrown in an exclusive interview with the tragically injured Radamel Falcao. Even if the Colombian won’t be winning it, we’re going to see one hell of a battle for the Golden Boot – so read what the contenders have to say about it first.
But what, you ask, of the men trying to stop these strikers scoring? Well, we’ve interviewed them too. Italian centre-back Giorgio Chiellini, Belgium captain Vincent Kompany and explosive right-back for the hosts, Dani Alves, each outline their masterplans for success in Brazil.
One player we haven’t mentioned yet happens to be the best on the planet. Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely believe Portugal can win the World Cup – but to do that, they’ll need to get the best out of CR7 himself. Luckily, FourFourTwo has come up with a one-man team tutorial: what Portugal can do to bring Ronaldo alive, based on other teams built around a single superstar. You can thank us later, chaps.
Italy have their own Superman: goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, on course for 150 caps and with a place in the history books already secured. The 36-year-old and alleged Al Pacino lookalike (according to one reader) answers your questions on everything from wrestling with Mario Balotelli to keeping quiet about his depression. It’s a must read.
Still not bought the issue yet? Well, we were worried we hadn’t spoken to enough World Cup legends... so we had a sit-down with Cafu as well, three-time World Cup finalist and two-time winner. He tips Neymar for success (obviously) and looks back in anger on a certain Champions League final his Milan side didn’t win.
Last month, we counted down Numbers 50-26 in our list of the greatest World Cup matches EVER. Now it’s time for the top 25. Scorchers, scandals, Goal of the Century, Save of the Century – it’s all here. But what will be our all-time No.1? Maradona’s mastery and mischief? 1966 and all that? Austria vs Switzerland?! There’s only one way to find out...
Fear is the great intangible that can stun a team and destroy a player. Over the years it’s changed from pant-soiling terror of being fouled by a psychopath of an opposition defender to a crippling anxiety of letting yourself and your fans down – but it’s still as important as ever. As football prepares for the biggest stage of all, we ask: how do you conquer fear and turn it to your advantage?
Nike’s Airport 98 has a place in many a football fan’s heart. That’s why FourFourTwo revisits the legendary commercial, going inside the makings of a film that saw John Woo make a star of Ronaldo while cameras melted around a ball-juggling Juninho. The best advert of all time? Damn right.
Plus: Performance tips from three World Cup winners (and Obafemi Martins), a chat with the bee-keeping goalkeeper, Kevin Kilbane in the nip and much, much more. You’d be mad not to buy it.
The July 2014 issue of FourFourTwo was brought to you by: Gigi Buffon, Massimo Maccarone, Joe Hart, Russell Martin, Brandon Pollard, Kevin Kilbane, Stuart Pearce, Billy Bingham, Peter McParland, Harry Gregg, Deon McCaulay, Diego Forlan, Lionel Messi, Matias Messi, Carlos Bilardo, Alejandro Sabella, Diego Costa, Edinson Cavani, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Dani Alves, Giorgio Chiellini, Vincent Kompany, Jon Champion, David Winner, Cafu, Rivelino, Xavi, Asmir Begovic, Roberto Carlos, Obafemi Martins, Lucas Moura, Andres Iniesta, Michael Owen, Fraser Forster and Robbie Keane.
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