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The UEFA Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool FC in Athens is now just around the corner – and issue 23 of the tournament's official magazine Champions is a "Greek classic" featuring interviews with the personalities involved in the final.
Milan's Filippo Inzaghi talks among other things about his main aim in life – scoring goals – while Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano discusses swapping an English relegation battle with West Ham United FC for Anfield. Champions also cracks an Athenian football joke or two as we find out about the history and culture of the big three clubs in the final's host city: Panathinaikos FC, Olympiacos CFP and AEK Athens FC.
As the 2006/07 campaign draws to a climax, Champions revisits past campaigns ending in seven, learning among other things about the Manchester United FC's 'Busby Babes' in 1957, the lionisation of Celtic FC's immortal side of 1967, former Liverpool FC and England striker Kevin Keegan - a hero in 1977 - and a famous Algerian back-heel by FC Porto's Rabah Madjer from 1987.
Drogba and Cannavaro
Chelsea FC's Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has a litre-bottle of beer named after him - and tells us about that special goalscoring feeling. At the other end of the pitch, Real Madrid CF's brilliant Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro modestly reckons that he won the FIFA World Player of the Year award by default. Champions' panel of experts muses over Europe's marketing giants, big-money transfer targets and match-winning superstars to draw up a list of Europe's 50 most powerful footballers.
"The secret of football is the ball." So said the legendary German spearhead of yesteryear Uwe Seeler. Champions traces the rise of the spherical object, without which there would be no game. Add to this stories about European footballing hotbeds, five young stars to watch out for, what is happening around the world at kick-off, what makes a football visionary and football in the Caucasus and it is clear that issue 23 of Champions is a must for the discerning football enthusiast.
Shops and stadiums
Champions appears in English and is also available in French, Spanish and Japanese as well as Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese. It is on sale in shops and at Europe's major stadiums. Fans travelling to Athens will also find the English version on sale there.
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