Sport Andres Iniesta trains with the Spain squad

The playmaker came through the ranks at Barcelona while van Gaal was manager at the Camp Nou and reserved praise of the highest order for the Dutch coach

Neil Warnock: I once tipped Manager of the Year award Moyes' way – and I lost out

What I Learnt This Week: I'd like to pass on my congratulations to David Moyes

Rooney's plight proves what went wrong in Rome

Sir Alex Ferguson used to smile at Brian McClair's willingness to forego his attacking instincts to do a job anywhere on a pitch for Manchester United. "I could say to him 'fill in at right back' and he would do it, no matter where he was asked to go on the field," he recalled recently. "He would do anything, wherever you asked him to play."

Larrazabal inspired by Iniesta triumph

Of all the professionals who skipped into the recorders' hut here yesterday after a low-scoring first round of the European Open, none bore a smile any wider than that of Pablo Larrazabal. There was a very good reason for it: Larrazabal happens to be a rabid Barcelona fan who has been close friends with one Andres Iniesta since the pair played football together on the same school team.

James Lawton: Catalans map out a route for Spanish domination

Dazzling possession football that won victory in Rome can deliver the World Cup next year to a nation that is showing even the mighty Premier League how to play

Van der Sar laments lack of possession

Edwin van der Sar cited an inability to retain possession as the major reason for Manchester United's Champions League final defeat in Rome last night.

Pete Jenson: Eto'o thrives after move to right

"We don't always agree on things," said Samuel Eto'o about his relationship with coach Pep Guardiola this week. "Sometimes we do what I say, sometimes we do what he says but usually it's true that when we do what he says he turns out to be right." It will have been Guardiola that decided to start with his Cameroon centre-forward wide on the right and Leo Messi through the middle, and it worked like a dream in the crucial first period of the game.

United left breathless by Iniesta midfield mastery

Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0

Ian Herbert: Guardiola's brilliant creation is enough to make the heart weep

Pep Guardiola's words had sounded a little too ornate to be football language when he took a seat up on a stage in this stadium on Tuesday evening and spoke of how he wanted his side to be "beautiful" and to feel they were playing in front of the whole world. But that is how it was when their moment came. When all the analysis had spun out and it came down to the football it really was 10 individuals creating geometry so astoundingly satisfying to see that the words for Manchester United were ones which so rarely apply. Predictable, staid, ordinary.

Charlton relishing Champions League final

Sir Bobby Charlton cannot wait for tonight's Champions League showdown between Manchester United and Barcelona in Rome.

We'll put on show for the world, says Guardiola

The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola last night declared an intent to show the world, at the end of his first season as coach, how good his side are. "I want the players to feel good and to feel they are playing in front of the whole world; to be daring and show why we've been so successful this season," he said of his side, who have won the Spanish league and cup double and have played some dazzling football on route.

A dream final? United look to spoil the party

It was the match-up that everyone wanted but the reality is Ferguson's team will play on the counter and deny Catalan midfielders their usual freedom

Guardiola concerned by lack of options

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola fears a lack of options could hinder their chances of overcoming Manchester United in next week's Champions League Final.

Can United shut out Barça?

Even if Rio returns, Ferguson faces an awesome force in the Catalans' attack. Ian Herbert looks at the key battles that may decide the Champions League final

Barcelona confident Henry and Iniesta will be fit

Barcelona are confident that both striker Thierry Henry and midfielder Andres Iniesta will be fit for next week's Champions League final against Manchester United, defender Gerard Pique said.

Henry and Iniesta fit for Champions League final

Manchester United's challenge in next week's Champions League final got a little harder yesterday when Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Thierry Henry, who have been doubts for Rome, declared they are confident they will play in the match.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn