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Champions No34

Published: Tuesday 5 May 2009, 15.04CET
Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona's Brazilian right-back, is one of three players in the form of their lives who are featured as cover stars in the latest issue of Champions.
Champions No34
Champions No34 ©UEFA.com
 

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Published: Tuesday 5 May 2009, 15.04CET

Champions No34

Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona's Brazilian right-back, is one of three players in the form of their lives who are featured as cover stars in the latest issue of Champions.

Tweety Pie is not the first name that springs to mind when searching for inspiration, but it works for Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona's roving right-back. He is one of three players in the form of their lives on the cover of the latest issue of Champions, official magazine of the UEFA Champions League.

Magic three
Alves is joined by Arsenal FC's flying Dutchman Robin van Persie, who tells us his new-found fitness and form is down to not eating meat. The third, Bastian Schweinsteiger at FC Bayern München, would love to meet Manchester United FC before this season's competition is out. He says: "We've got a score to settle on account of the [final] we lost in 1999."

Best yet
We also run through the best of the UEFA Champions League action and performances so far; revel in Bayern's record-breaking triumph over Sporting Clube de Portugal – they have a new scoring sensation with an iconic name; and remember players that return to haunt their former clubs.

Weighty issues
Liverpool FC No14s past and present come face to face over lunch, as Xabi Alonso and Jan Mølby talk midfielders, managers and summer breaks. The new issue also enjoys a close encounter with José Mourinho. Defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford has hardly taken the shine off the FC Internazionale Milano boss, who reveals: "My greatest mistake was ..."

Japanese joy
His counterpart at Arsenal, Arsène Wenger, engineered a small revolution in the British game when he moved to north London in 1996. Champions looks at how the Frenchman left AS Monaco FC disillusioned but fell back in love with football during his sojourn in Japan.

Heroes remembered
In Czechoslovakia in 1969, FC Spartak Trnava's 'White Angels' ignored the invading tanks and Soviet-backed European Champion Clubs' Cup ban to reach the semi-finals. Stars of the time recall the heroic campaign. Fifteen years later, Jim McLean's 'Tangerine terrors' were narrowly beaten in the semis. The former Dundee United FC manager reminisces about life in the dugout.

Zico on free-kicks
Elsewhere in the issue, the Champions Dossier focuses on set-pieces. The dead-ball specialists; the free-kicks and corners that won tournaments; how best to defend them – man-to-man or zonally; and Brazilian legend Zico gives a masterclass in taking them while expressing dismay at the current lack of prowess: "Players don't practise. No wonder the ball ends up in the crowd."

Strikers
Plus, the changing role of the front man. Today's strikers, it seems, have to do a lot more than score goals; Chelsea FC's secret weapon Salomon Kalou, Villarreal CF's Giuseppe Rossi, and much, much more.


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Last updated: 29/01/12 6.03CET

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