Rants and musings from the magazine team
The January 2012 issue of FourFourTwo is out now, and positively bursting with fantastic features, sensational stories and exciting exclusives. For us, that's not enough – we want to give you more.
So welcome to our 'Further Reading' blog for the new issue. As you read, or if you prefer, after you've finished the magazine, take a look below and see what else we can offer you on what you've just taken in. We've got videos! We've got blogs! We've got rhythm!
EXCLUSIVE: CESC FABREGASThe Spanish ace reveals all about leaving Arsenal and joining Barcelona in the new issue, but we've spoken to him before, y'know. Check out our online exclusive with the midfielder from October 2009, in which he talks about his early days at Arsenal and being a bad loser.
Want to go even further back? Here's another online exclusive with Fabregas, from September 2008. He tips a 16-year-old Jack Wilshere for the top, and hypes Theo Walcott to the heavens, saying that by the end of 2011 he could be "one of the best players in the world". There's still time...
100 BEST PLAYERS: ANALYSISOoh, where do we start? You've read our piece on the 100 Best Players, but we have much more online.
First up, editor Dave Hall explains how we decided on the list (it wasn't easy). Don't forget: we want your feedback. Soon we'll have a blog responding to your comments, justifying our decisions and generally making everything nice and clear. Keep tabs on our Inside Track blog for that.
Elsewhere, our bloggers from around the world analyse what the results mean for their leagues and national teams. Inter have fallen, even nosedived, since last year's Top 100 list; Treble-winners one year, out of the Serie A title race the next. Richard Whittle examines what the hell happened.
Meanwhile, Tim Stannard reports on why good news for Barcelona and Madrid – who make up more than a quarter of the list between them – means bad news for the competitiveness of La Liga. There's more from La Liga Loca several times a week: he's awfully good, y'know.
We also have more on the very best players in each position on our Lists page, our extra insight partnered with lovely, lovely videos. And this week we'll profile those players who could make it next year – something to look forward to in more ways than one.
100 BEST PLAYERS: INTERVIEWSSure, we spoke to some of the greatest footballers in the world right now, but that doesn't mean we can't remind ourselves of what makes them so good.
Samir Nasri talks of his decision to leave Arsenal for Manchester City in the interview; here's the Frenchman looking a wee bit tasty during his time in North London:
His Eastlands team-mate Yaya Toure is more than useful too. Here he is, scoring a few goals to, erm, the theme from Stingray:
An Edinson Cavani highlights reel, you say? No problem, we say. Find out why many a top English club is keeping tabs on the Napoli and Uruguay striker:
Of course, it wouldn't be fair to exclude keepers from this audiovisual love-in. Step forward, the quite brilliant Manuel Neuer:
Alvaro Pereira, who speaks exclusively to FourFourTwo in the February issue, is touted as being Andre Villas-Boas' next signing for Chelsea. Here's why.
Leandro Damiao is another name being linked to the Premier League. The young Brazilian striker may sound like a surprising selection, but this should help to explain why he made our list:
We also had a chat with the highly-rated Yann M'Vila, aka the next Vieira. If you've got 18 minutes to spare, check out this video of everything he's ever done:
Phew. Now for something completely diffrent...
ONE-ON-ONE: RAZOR RUDDOCK
The big man not only gave us some interesting answers to your questions – such as revealing he cried upon finding out he hadn't made the 1996 FA Cup Final squad – but the permission to make him look silly in a bunch of exclusive photographs. For more shots of Razor and more, download the FourFourTwo gallery app for iPad, out later this month. For now, here are a few photos we didn't use in the magazine:
A lovely pair, we're sure you'll agree. We captured Razor on tape, too, talking about his famous 'Ruddock Stomp' after scoring a penalty for Southampton against Newcastle in 1989. Why didn't Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer want to take the spotkick? Razor reveals all...
PIQUE'S 36-YEAR-OLD RIVALIn Planet Football this month we profile Sergio Ballesteros, the 15-stone, 36-year-old Levante captain and centre-back who's at the centre of a campaign to get him into the Spain squad. We promised we'd show you the video of him outpacing one Cristiano Ronaldo in the 91st minute of Levante's win over Madrid, so here you are. Look at him go! Sorry, Ron.
INSIDE QPRNot got your fill of lovable loudmouth Joey Barton from our world exclusive in the February issue? Have a gander at our web-only interview with Barton from March this year, in which he says he might one day wear a snood.
Speaking of outspoken, we've also uploaded our One-on-One interview with Neil Warnock from 2006. He answers readers' questions on referees, playing like Ronaldinho and being called Colin Wanker. Hey, he seems fine with it...
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: THE FOOTBALL LEAGUEDoes the Elite Player Performance Plan spell the end for Football League youth academies? No, it spells EPPP. But many a lower-league club is worried, as our Youth Development feature shows, and so they should be, says Aaron Cox in a doom-mongering blog. Read on, Football League fans, and learn why you should be scared.
GREAT GOALS RETOLD: MAURO BRESSANSurely a strong candidate for the best Champions League goal ever, Bressan's stunner against Barcelona remains as breathtaking as ever. Get the asthma pump ready and watch this beauty again.
GAMES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: RAY WILKINSBefore he became a sense-spouting breath of fresh air to the punditry game – "Stay on your feet" aside – Butch was a handy old player. In his choice of Games That Changed My Life, he starts off with his England side beating France 3-1 in the 1982 World Cup. Prepare to go all misty-eyed:
PICK YOUR PREMIER LEAGUE XI......but you're only allowed one player per team. It's a tricky one, all right. But as we said on our Letters page, we want to see them, so send in your suggestions. We'll be picking our own this week – once we've finished arguing.
YOUNG CRUYFF & YOUNG BERGKAMPJohan's grandson, Jessua Angoy, and Dennis' nephew Roland are both impressing at English clubs, Wigan and Brighton respectively. They've certainly got the genes but do they have the talent? These videos suggest so: here's Roland Bergkamp scoring, and below is Angoy walloping a very Cruyff-esque beaut:
PERFECT XI: FRANCO BARESILiked our Perfect XI with Franco Baresi? Then you'll love our One-on-One interview with him in November 2009! And if it's more star football names choosing their Perfect XIs you want, take a looky at our ever-expanding archive.
ALL TOGETHER NOW...In our Action Replay on the First World War Christmas truce match, we speak to Peter Hooton of The Farm about their tribute to the game, the legendary anthem All Together Now. He's very kindly written a blog here on FourFourTwo.com, too, about the Liverpool fanzine he set up before his heady Farm days. John Peel described it as being about "beer, music and football" – which is enough for us. See what he has to say.
THE BOY'S A BIT LOCO: IULIAN BURSUCThe photos of that punch landed on referee Ghenadie Sidenco looked a bit tasty, didn't they? Here's the real deal: Moldovan midfielder Bursuc taking out a FIFA official, who takes it very well, with a right hook. Nasty.
PERFORMANCELast but by no means least, we have our superb Performance section. On top of the professional tips in the magazine, we have plenty more on the Performance website.
Want more from this month's Masterclass expert, Scott Parker? Read how he maintains fitness for 90 minutes.
Want more on playing as a full-back, after advice from Andre Santos? This page has all you'll ever need, including tips from England trio Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson and Kieran Gibbs.
Want more on playing into your forties, and even beyond, after those rousing words from Graham Alexander? Play until you're grey with this guide.
Want more on shooting, having taken Nicky Maynard's recommendations on board? We have a number of articles that should help your finishing.
Want more on gym workouts, after Tom Cleverley's guide? Portsmouth strength and conditioning coach Chris Neville knows all there is to know.
Want more on psychology thanks to our help on how to win without your star player? Our Performance site has professional psychological insight on everything from captaincy to dealing with a diver.
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