Stars shooting from the lip
While it is true that not everyone delivers on their promises, that is not an accusation that could be levelled at FIFA.com. We pledged to bring you exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names on planet football this year, and we were as good as our word. Ever dreamt of seeing Lionel Messi, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo is the same line-up? Well, now you can as they, and many others, are all here on FIFA.com - and just a click or two away.
One of new additions this year was the popular "Ask your idols" section, which gave FIFA.com users the chance to have their questions answered by some of the game's top names. Among the many to oblige were Ryan Giggs who, while sharing his thoughts about life on and off the pitch, told us: "My hero is Nelson Mandela. I've been fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times. He was really clued up on his football and he knew me, so that was just unbelievable."
Also happy to field our readers questions were ex-footballers Rui Costa and Gianfranco Zola, while another Manchester United icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, gamely took part only a couple of weeks ago. Asked to describe himself in just one word, the self-assured Portuguese replied with a laugh: "Brilliant!"
Talking a good game
Of course, it was not only our readers who were asking questions of the leading lights in football. Throughout the year, our journalists interviewed esteemed figures like Dutch duo Edgar Davids and Roy Makaay, the Portuguese Deco, Frenchman David Trezeguet and Italy's Fabio Grosso. Nor did we neglect the men on the sidelines, with Chelsea's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and current Mexican boss Sven Goran Eriksson among those who shared their thoughts with us in 2008.
And there was more. During the course of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, we spoke exclusively with Argentinian icon Lionel Messi. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so you have to make the most of every second," the Barcelona star told us just hours after winning his gold medal. Another South American legend happy to speak with us in China was bronze medal winner Ronaldinho. "Obviously I'm delighted to have gone to such an important and prestigious club as Milan. They've signed me because they know my game and what I can do out on the pitch," said the clearly excited Brazilian of his move to the San Siro.
Another to go on the record was Salomon Kalou. Among other interesting facts, the Chelsea and Côte d'Ivoire winger spoke of his fondness for Spanish football: "It's my dream of mine to play there one day, as I love Spanish football. It's exciting to watch and to play. I also dream of seeing an African side win the World Cup."
And the list goes on: Roque Santa Cruz shared with us his experiences in England, Juan Roman Riquelme spoke of the responsibility of being a father, and Alexandre Pato of dealing with a tumour at the age of ten.
So many great names and so many interesting exchanges. So why not browse through the extensive list of interviews shown in the column on the right and enjoy them in their entirety? You can also rest assured that in 2009 we'll continue to bring you new and entertaining dialogues with leading figures from right across planet football. And that's a promise.
- Pirlo: I have all I need here »
- Riquelme: A unique experience »
- Roque all over the world »
- Eriksson: I'm very optimistic »
- Kaka: No-one can take this from us »
- Pato: I hope to emulate Ronaldo »
- Cristiano Ronaldo: Wanting to win »
- Rui Costa, Portugal's prince »
- Zaki: Now is my time »
- Deco: I've got no regrets »
- Messi: No favourites in a final »
- Ronaldinho: I've come for gold »