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Petr Čech, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Zlatan Ibrahimović are the players you need to conquer Europe - at least that's what Roy Hodgson and Lars Lagerbäck say in the latest issue of Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League.
These four stars were on both teamsheets as Finnish national coach Hodgson and his Swedish counterpart Lagerbäck picked their fantasy UEFA Champions League-winning XIs exclusively for Champions.
The coaches were especially impressed by FC Internazionale Milano's Swedish striker Ibrahimović. Lagerbäck enthused: "He's always had the technique but his understanding of the game has deepened in Italy," while Hodgson ranked him as one of the four best players in the world.
Messi - cover star
Messi, the cover star on the latest Champions, talks exclusively about scoring goals, being fouled and FC Barcelona's tradition of playing attractive football. "The constant temptation is to play beautiful football," says the Argentine star, "the trick is to make it effective."
Shedding more light on the traditions that have infused the Catalan club, Champions honours the genius of Ladislao Kubala, the Hungarian star of the 1950s and 1960s who made such an impression at Camp Nou that in 1999, the fans voted him the club's best-ever player, ahead of Johan Cruyff. Another present-day Barça great, Deco, talks about the pressures that come with being European champions and Giovani Dos Santos, a star of the future, speaks about his mentor Ronaldinho.
Elsewhere in issue 26, Champions investigates Roman Abramovich's bid to turn Chelsea FC into the world's biggest club; talks to serial UEFA Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf about staying at the top; catches up with Celtic FC ace Shunsuke Nakamura, who discusses his prowess at free-kicks, and hears from Walter Smith, the godfather of Scottish football who talks about his return to the UEFA Champions League with Rangers FC.
The new issue also marks one of the greatest careers in European football with an interview with Guy Roux, the legendary French coach, who compares the evolution of football tactics to the evolution of military strategy and has his very own take on Eric Cantona, one of his former protégés.
And, on a lighter note, Champions celebrates 18 great football songs (from the official UEFA Champions League anthem to 1. FSV Mainz 05's reinvention of The Smurf Song) and celebrates the bench - the part of the stadium where coaches rule and players worry. Italian coach Corrado Orrico so likes the dugout that, he reveals: "If I could choose, I would die on the bench. That would be a perfect death."
Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League, is on sale on newsstands across Europe. Click here to subscribe.
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