Look at the medals hanging around Jorginho’s neck and it’s easy to assume that the path leading to that moment was smooth, with the destination clear from the start. But nothing comes easy. As Jorginho tells Caroline De Moraes in issue 9 of Champions Journal, there were times when he was ready to pack it all in. In the end it was the support of his family and sheer mental strength that kept the Chelsea midfielder on track.
Our other cover star, Fikayo Tomori, has also followed a winding road to reach the top, playing on loan at three different clubs before finally finding his feet at AC Milan. And when you do make it, there can be no let-up – as Simon Hart reveals in his study of what the world’s best strikers are doing to keep at the top of their game well into their thirties.
But it’s not all about hard work here at Champions Journal. As we kick off our third season, we also kick back with music maestro Jules Koundé, we tap into the special relationship between Bob Marley and Ajax, drop in on Paris for a bit of that Messi magic and take time out in the beautiful Swiss city of Berne – an essential stop on any Champions League tour.
We hope you enjoy it!
Issue 10 takes us to all corners of the continent and back again. Caroline De Moraes stopped off in Manchester to speak to Bernardo Silva about his drive to win the one trophy that eludes Pep Guardiola’s City team, while our other cover belongs to teenage sensation and Germany international Karim Adeyemi. Adeyemi has been terrifying Champions League defences for Salzburg with his electric pace, but he was happy to catch his breath in conversation with Ian Holyman.
Elsewhere, Dan Poole was given exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the VAR nerve centre at UEFA HQ in Switzerland, and he shares a fascinating insight into the drama behind the drama we see on our screens. We’ve also caught up with legendary former Smiths guitarist and City fan Johnny Marr, who – like Bernardo – is eager for another shot at the European title. Plus Michael Harrold has been in Tiraspol, checking out the newest city on the Champions League circuit, we get the lowdown on Ralf Rangnick’s footballing philosophy and examine the growing American influence on the Champions League. It’s all been a bit frenetic, but a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy all of it!
We’ve got a bumper line up in issue 11 starting at the top with the world’s most prolific striker Robert Lewandowski and Manchester City’s flamboyant England international Jack Grealish.
Lewandowski’s 100th game in the competition gave us good reason to head to Munich to talk goals and glory with the 33-year-old, who shows no sign of slowing as he bids to top the Champions League scoring chart for the second time in three years.
At the other end of the spectrum, our second cover star, Jack Grealish, is just getting his first taste of the Champions League, and judging by City’s progress so far, the main course has yet to come. We’re looking forward to seeing how the campaign concludes.
Elsewhere, we learn about Jürgen Klopp’s influence on the budding musical career of English pop star Jamie Webster, Alexia Putellas gives us an insight into how she rose to the top of the women’s game and we speak to American photographer Mel D. Cole on what it’s like to take Lionel Messi’s portrait.
Deputy editor Dan Poole, meanwhile, hits the road to sample an away day in Lisbon and 40 years on, Simon Hart, talks to the men who fired Aston Villa to European Cup glory in 1982. All that and more in issue 11 of Champions Journal.
We've got a winning combination lined up for issue 12. Striker Jonathan David had a debut Champions League campaign to remember for LOSC – and it suggests there’s plenty more to come from the youngster. Keep an eye out for him at the World Cup too, where he’ll be leading the line for Canada.
Meanwhile, Vini Jr stole the show for Real Madrid in the final with the winning goal. The Brazilian came of age this season; we found out how and why, as well as hearing about his tight bond with Rodrygo and his take on being fashion forward.
No sooner had the curtain fallen on last season than the 2022/23 Champions League was up and running – and our editor was in Reykjavík for the kick-off of the new campaign. The stakes weren’t quite so high but the drama was every bit as tense as it was in Paris.
We’ve also caught up with Mircea Lucescu to discuss the incredible effort that he and his team have gone through to prepare Dynamo Kyiv for a new season in Europe. Plus, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp looks forward to the Champions League, after performing when it mattered in the Europa League final to earn Eintracht Frankfurt a spot in the group stage.
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