Another UEFA Champions League season is upon us, and a new edition of the official competition magazine Champions reflects the anticipation of an exciting 2010/11 campaign.
The arrival of Spain's FIFA World Cup hero David Villa at FC Barcelona promises to elevate the Spanish club's forward line to another level. Good news for their fans but not for visiting defenders. The new No7 tells Champions: "I can adapt to any attacking formation, and it will be good for me to do so at Barcelona. I can always improve. I'm learning all the time, and it can only make me a more complete player."
Many experts consider Villa's team-mate Lionel Messi the best player in the world. Champions charts Messi's journey to the top, hearing from the people who helped shape his future – including the coach who said he would never make it, not even as a table footballer.
Staying with front men, the spotlight falls on five players who have scored in the UEFA Champions League for four different clubs – among them, a ballerina, a fox in the box and a magician. FC Internazionale Milano's Diego Milito, who netted twice to win last season's final against FC Bayern München, has just enjoyed the season of his career. Champions poses the question whether 'Diegol' is the perfect modern striker.
Another key contributor to Inter's treble-winning campaign, right-back Maicon, talks exclusively about his path to football stardom, explains why No13 has never been unlucky for him, and reveals the crucial moments that ensured the famous trophy would be heading to Internazionale for the first time since 1965.
Champions puts in focus the games, characters and results of the UEFA Super Cup, which serves as the annual August curtain-raiser to the European club competition season, and previews this year's match between Inter and inaugural UEFA Europa League winners Club Atlético de Madrid.
Winger Nani provides skill and goals from the flanks for Manchester United FC. In a one-to-one discussion with the Portuguese international, Champions learns of his first visit to the Old Trafford dressing room, and discovers who won his heated table tennis matches with former United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Champions also meets two former European titleholders. Two-time Ballon d'Or winner Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recalls his salad days with FC Bayern München, and implies that his mother's legs made him an international star. And step forward Piet Keizer, AFC Ajax's serial European Champion Clubs' Cup winner of the early 1970s, and a maverick forward famous as much for his strong personality as for his banana shot.
For a glimpse of the future, the Technical Area analyses previous teams led by new Real Madrid CF coach José Mourinho, in an attempt to predict how Mourinho will shape his latest charges on the field in 2010/11.
All this and more, including players and coaches gearing up for the UEFA Champions League qualifiers with points to prove, such as UC Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano, Ajax's Gregory van der Wiel and AJ Auxerre's Jean Fernandez; young coaches taking Europe by storm; how a former Yugoslavian dictator influenced a long line of revolutionary coaches; and Tottenham Hotspur FC's long road to the UEFA Champions League as lived by skipper Ledley King
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