Rants and musings from the magazine team
So you've finished the February 2012 issue – on sale now – and you're thinking, "Well, that was a good read – but you know what? I want more." We hear you, brother/sister.
Take a look, then, at our monthly 'Further Reading' blog. Because sometimes, transsexual internationals, Sir Alex Ferguson and football's greatest conman just aren't enough...
FERGIE'S BIGGEST CHALLENGEIn our unparalleled 12-page feature, we look at what the future holds for one of the game's greatest ever managers. But let's not forget his past.
We've set up a special in-depth section of FourFourTwo.com dedicated to Sir Alex, including a detailed look into his 25 years at Old Trafford, a classic, fascinating exclusive interview with the Scot after his 1999 Treble triumph and his best ever Manchester United XIs. And for those of you who aren't fans of his, we've even recounted his 10 darkest moments.
Don't miss our gallery, either, of every trophy won by Ferguson during his reign at Manchester United.
AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS SPECIALWe've not one but two magazines for you this month, with a 23-page ACoN mini-mag on the reverse of your regular read. And even that's not enough to satiate our Africa lust!
From the opening match to the final, we'll be covering the tournament on FourFourTwo.com with regular news updates, a diary from the legendary Jonathan Wilson and insightful analysis with FFT's award-winning Stats Zone, now extended to the ACoN. Don't forget to keep checking our Africa Cup of Nations blog section for the diary, Stats Zone, team guides and more. And hey, want to download Stats Zone for the Africa Cup of Nations yourself? Here's how.
FOURFOURTWO'S 12 FOR 2012In the February issue FFT picks out a delightful dozen to watch this year, from gaffers to goalscorers, and we interview hotshots Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rickie Lambert on what 2012 holds for them.
But if you feel mere words aren't enough, check out these tasty videos on the players to keep your eyes on...
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked the business against Manchester City, and even at the tender age of 18 he's an outside bet to make the England squad for Euro 2012. Here the winger shows what he's capable of even before he moved to Arsenal:
Speaking of hot young talent, Liverpool's 17-year-old Raheem Sterling looks a bit useful. Could this be the season he gets a crack at the first team in a labouring Reds side?
Moving overseas, it's clear already that Germany have wunderkids in abundance. After a fledgling Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira (among others) drove their team to an impressive semi-final showing in the 2010 World Cup, another generation is already hot on their heels. Get an idea why everyone is raving about teenage sensation Mario Goetze, the highly sought-after Borussia Dortmund playmaker and Tintin lookalike (even if he is out for two months):
It's a big year for Cristiano Ronaldo, charged with leading Mourinho's Madrid to glory and, most importantly, triumph over Barcelona. Is he up to it? This video-maker says yes:
Back on home shores, it could be a massive 12 months for Edin Dzeko, too. The Bosnian striker may find himself having to take centre stage at Man City more often than first thought, with Sergio Aguero more suited to dropping deep and Mario Balotelli always one second away from a suspension. Here's Dzeko doing what he does best, possibly to the tune of a Justin Timberlake remix (feel free to press the mute button).
Into the Football League, two players to keep tabs on are the much-vaunted Rickie Lambert of Southampton and Jordan Rhodes of Huddersfield. Each seems to be on the verge of a move to the Premier League – here's why:
Young Spaniard Oriel Romeu also has a big year ahead of him at Chelsea. See why the Blues bought him below, then read why they may find it difficult to hold on to him.
THE DEATH OF THE TACKLEAre the days of the meaty challenge finally over? FFT investigates in the February 2012 issue, and to accompany that we've dug around to find video evidence of some of the best and worst tackles the world of football has ever seen.
First, the worst – featuring Gazza, Keano and some of the dirtiest men outside prison. After seeing these, you'll be thankful these challenges are being outlawed.
But wait: tackling isn't all about fouling. What about when the ball is perfectly snatched away from an attacker's feet? Worship at FourFourTwo.com's defending altar, with our video tribute to the best tackles the world has ever seen, from Bobby Moore to Ledley King.
ONE-ON-ONE: DIETMAR HAMANNThe former German midfielder answers readers' questions in the new issue, but there's also a tricky poser from Pepe Reina, who asks: "You scored some decent goals, but which was your favourite?" Didi opts for two: one for Newcastle against Juventus, and one for Liverpool against Portsmouth. But which do you think is better?
Hamann didn't mind us photographing him making a fool of himself with a Liverpool shirt either. Guess who?
ASK A SILLY QUESTIONAnd we've plenty more exclusive interviews where that came from. This month it's the turn of Steve McManaman to field nonsensical posers on cavemen and the shape of the transfer window.
If you want more where that came from, head on over to our Interviews section, where we're constantly adding classic interviews from the FourFourTwo archive. We've got One-on-Ones, Perfect XIs and more, including – naturally – some of the very best interviews for Ask A Silly Question. Currently making us cackle in the office is Charlie Nicholas admitting he's jealous of bald people. Check it out.
GREAT GOALS RETOLD: ALLAN RAVNEnjoy Allan Ravn recounting his belting strike against Manchester United? Want to see the goal in glorious technicolour? Of course you do. Watch the video, read the interview and marvel at the cartoon of the goal. We have more Great Goals Retold besides, too.
EURO 2012 ENGLAND SQUAD PREDICTORYou can read the 23 players we picked for Capello in the February issue online, but we'll be updating it every month and we want your feedback. Where did we go wrong? Tell us in the comments section, on Facebook or @FourFourTwo on Twitter.
ROMANIA: THE MADDEST PLACE IN FOOTBALLIf you're still wondering why we identified Romania as the place where all the footballing wackos hang out, check out this video of Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali carrying out some impromptu car repairs after being locked out of his £350,000 Maybach:
Not convinced? Here's goalkeeper Remus Danalache protesting a series of decisions against his Vointa Sibiu team in a game against Petrolul Ploeisti. The stroppy stopper turns his back on the penalty, refusing to try and save it. Then when he is forced to face the right way, he still makes no attempt to stop it. Noble, perhaps, but nonetheless bizarre.
FFT TRAVEL: ISTANBULElsewhere in Planet Football this month we profile Istanbul as a footballing tourist destination. The Turkish capital is about more than a Liverpudlian miracle, dontcherknow – as our online Travel guide shows. We've many more city and team guides, too, from Copenhagen to Kiev and Birmingham to Barcelona.
THE GAMES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: ROGER HUNTNow we've some cracking archive footage for you, to accompany former Liverpool striker, and World Cup winner with England, Roger Hunt telling FourFourTwo about the matches that made him:
PERFORMANCEFinally, you can find much, much more from FourFourTwo Performance online as well as in the magazine.
In the February 2012 issue, Michael Mancienne gives tips on playing the ball out from the back. Here, Rio Ferdinand gives his own tips on doing just that.
If you want more from the injury clinic, you'll find all you need in our injuries section.
We also have a guide in the magazine on drills to help you leave your marker for dead; online, Newcastle United strength and conditioning coach Duncan French has more drills for speed of foot and change in direction.
And if you're looking for more on shooting after Alan Shearer's guide to hitting the target with power, we have advice from Nani, Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott and more.
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