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Argentina strikers Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero are threatening to tear up the record books with both the national team and their respective Spanish Liga clubs. You can read exclusive interviews with the pair in Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League.
Club Atlético de Madrid prodigy Agüero reveals that former Albiceleste forward Gabriel Batistuta helped inspire his journey to the game's highest echelons. "He was a striker I adored," he says. "I would play at being him, score imaginary goals and commentate on them as though I was 'Bati'." FC Barcelona No10 Messi has been likened to the ultimate Argentinian sporting hero, being labelled 'the new Maradona'. They may score similar goals, but Champions digs beneath the similarities to uncover a world of difference.
Continuing with the Argentinian theme, Champions goes face to face with FC Bayern München defender Martín Demichelis and FC Girondins de Bordeaux hot shot Fernando Cavenaghi. We also remember past masters who made it to the top in Europe, such as Real Madrid CF giant Alfrédo Di Stéfano, and coaching great Helenio Herrera who took FC Internazionale Milano to the peak. Find out about the silk and steel combination that epitomises the Argentinian style of play.
It is a Chilean, Manuel Pellegrini, who is the longest-serving coach in the Liga, still working wonders at Villarreal CF. The one-time engineer puts his success down to an obsession with learning, yet concedes he is not always such a star pupil: "I'm a disaster on the piano, but learning something from scratch keeps the neurons active."
An obsession with Europe's premier club competition is what keeps Sir Alex Ferguson going. He fell in love with the European Champion Clubs' Cup 50 years ago and has twice coached his side to victory. But that is not enough. "We have made one step forward towards a respectable figure in terms of UEFA Champions League wins. But we want to add more and get up there alongside Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Ajax."
Elsewhere, Champions looks at the life and times of Zvonimir Boban – a dazzling midfield maestro and fulcrum for AC Milan, as well as a people's champion of Croatia. Netherlands Under-21 coach Foppe de Haan explains how the Oranje got to be so brilliant. FC Zenit St. Petersburg skipper Anatoliy Tymoschuk – T44 to fans – is a star interviewee. And read how the young Deco turned to studying when he thought his chance of making it had gone.
Finally, Graeme Souness, the three-time European Cup winner with Liverpool FC, tells today's players to take more responsibility. "We policed ourselves," he reminisces. "In that [Liverpool] team, you were only ever one bad pass away from an ear-bashing." Plus the uefa.com Team of the Year and much, much more ...
Champions, official magazine of the UEFA Champions League, is on sale on newsstands across Europe. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.
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