In our first issue Eden Hazard talks Real Madrid and Trent Alexander-Arnold tells us why Liverpool’s Champions League triumph could be the start of another golden era at Anfield. We also sit down with Chelsea manager Frank Lampard who recalls his greatest Champions League moments as a player.
Off the pitch, singer Chelcee Grimes takes us behind the scenes at the Liverpool after-party in Madrid, super fan Barbas explains his love of Benfica, former Valencia great Gaizka Mendieta talks paella at his new London restaurant and photographer Michael Regan discusses the perfect Champions League picture.
Managers with a full squad of in-form players bemoan the task of picking a team for their next game; fortunately, we’ve got room for stars aplenty in our new issue. Antoine Griezmann is up front in more ways than one: he discusses his new life at Barcelona with openness and raw honesty. In behind him you’ll find Heung-Min Son, a man driven by the quest for perfection beneath that familiar smile.
Also lining up for action, Gianluigi Buffon divulges his love of all things Champions League, while Lucy Bronze reflects on the exponential rise of women’s football. Plus we’ve got garage star Conducta riffing on retro kits, an interview with the director of that brilliant Diego Maradona documentary and a report on the young tearaways ready to take over Europe. Ready? Kick-off time…
Any successful line-up has strength in both defence and attack, which is aptly illustrated by the latest issue of Champions Journal. One of our cover stars is Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch centre-back who blazed a trail as a teenager at Ajax and is now relishing the challenge at his new club Juventus. The other is Karim Benzema, the French forward who has nothing left to prove yet continues to break records and defy logic with his goalscoring exploits at Real Madrid.
The interviews don’t stop there. Carlo Ancelotti reflects on the leadership skills that have made him a serial winner of the Champions League, Dele Alli dissects his role as dressing-room DJ and Divock Origi looks back at the moment that crowned Liverpool’s final win over Tottenham last season. With in-depth features on backroom staff and sleep science, fashion chat with adidas’s Gary Aspden and a photographic exploration of Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo to enjoy too, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
We kick off issue 4 by catching up with two imposing figures of the European game: in-demand Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool legend talks frankly with Graham Hunter about his transition into coaching, while the Senegalese international opens up on life in Naples, the art of defending in Italy and growing up in France. We’ve also got interviews with Jürgen Klinsmann, Jérôme Boateng, Paulo Dybala and Thomas Tuchel, and celebrate Paris Saint-Germain’s 50th birthday with a look back at a season that defined France’s powerhouse club.
As well as great writing, we showcase eye-catching photography from the Getty Images archive, filling the void left by the postponement of this season’s showpiece with classic fan images that capture the hope and, for some, glory that comes with attending a final. We’ve also got more artwork than ever, from our first illustrated covers by Louise Cobbold and Dan Evans, to Osvaldo Casanova’s take on Dejan Savićević’s brilliant goal in the 1994 final and Raj Dhunna’s recreation of the coin toss that decided a 1965 European Cup tie between Liverpool and FC Köln.
That’s all given us a lift during a difficult time, but of course the pandemic has overshadowed everything we’ve been doing. As such, Simon Hart reflects on a period when for once, and rightly, football has taken a back seat. A pause for thought before it all starts up again in August.
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