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At 17, he was considered better than Roy Keane, at 18 he was being hailed as the new Patrick Vieira, so what next for Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal FC midfield talisman?
Centre of the new Arsenal
In a piece in issue 24 of the official UEFA Champions League magazine Champions - which is available now - Amy Lawrence says that the young Basque had already made himself the centre of the new Arsenal even before Thierry Henry's departure to FC Barcelona. The star said that he understands their frustration after a difficult season for the north London club: "The fans know we're a young team, but they want us to win things. We understand that." Febregas admits, though, that he doesn't want the club to change its style. "If I had to play ugly football for 15 years, I'd do something else," he said.
The rest of Champions No24 has a distinctively Mediterranean feel, celebrating AC Milan's seven European triumphs and revealing their Brazilian star Kaká's thoughts throughout the 2006/07 campaign. These features should make especially pleasant reading for Carlo Ancelotti, the UEFA Champions League-winning coach, who is an avid reader of the magazine.
The glorious history of the blue-and-black side of Milan is celebrated with a profile of Helenio Herrera, the legendary Argentine coach who won the European Cup twice with FC Internazionale Milano in the 1960s, and whose remarks to the press, approach to team-building and penchant for mind games marked him out as a precursor to Chelsea FC boss José Mourinho.
Ten best goals
The latest edition also celebrates the ten best goals of the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League season, examines the difficult business of being a substitute goalkeeper and explores the strange failure of many Argentine starlets to fulfil their promise as the new Diego Maradona. The magazine also highlights the football culture of the legendary comic troupe Monty Python and some of the most unusual club names in the game - from Tractor to the Berlin Society for Tennis and Ping Pong Borussia.
Looking forward, Champions profiles five young coaches - Armin Veh (VFB Stuttgart), Delio Rossi (S.S. Lazio), Albert Emon (Olympique de Marseille), Mirko Slomka (FC Schalke 04) and Alain Perrin (Olympique Lyonnais) - who will, in 2007/08, be taking charge in the UEFA Champions League for the very first time. There is also an interview with Ricardo Quaresma, the FC Porto winger revelling in the nickname of 'Harry Potter'. And, if you are at a loss for something to do this summer, the magazine details eight skills - from the Cruyff turn to the seal dribble - which you can try out in your own backyard. But be warned: the seal dribble - in which you dribble the ball with your head - should not be carried out near any walls or other immovable objects.
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