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

Barcelona fans hold a placard with a message of support for Eric Abidal, during their La Liga match against Getafe at the Camp Nou

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal recovering well after liver transplant

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is recovering well after undergoing a liver transplant yesterday, club president Sandro Rosell has said.

Lionel Messi leaves the Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini trailing

Lionel Messi set new record as AC Milan pay the penalties in Barcelona

Barcelona 3 Milan 1 (Barca win 3-1 on aggregate)

Lionel Messi has scored 12 goals in European games this season

Messi hits five while tiny Apoel go through

Lionel Messi at his breathtaking best tore Bayer Leverkusen apart with a record five-goal Champions League haul last night as Barcelona swept into the quarter-finals 7-1 on the night and 10-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona have set up a final against Santos

Barcelona overpower Al-Sadd to reach Club World Cup final

Al-Sadd 0 Barcelona 4

Bert Van Marwijk, the Netherlands coach

Van Marwijk extends Netherlands contract

Coach Bert van Marwijk has extended his contract with the Netherlands until 2016.

Fabregas: I'd 'stagnated' at Arsenal so had to leave

Cesc Fabregas knows he has a fight on his hands for first-team opportunities at Barcelona but insists he had to leave Arsenal because he had "stagnated".

Cesc Fabregas says he 'stagnated' at Arsenal

Cesc Fabregas knows he has a fight on his hands for first-team opportunities at Barcelona but insists he had to leave Arsenal because he had "stagnated".

Messi double devastates 10-man Real as Fabregas picks up trophy on debut

Lionel Messi carried on where he left off last season, scoring twice as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-2 at the Nou Camp to win the Spanish Super Cup 5-4 on aggregate last night. Cesc Fabregas, Barça's new signing from Arsenal, came on for his debut late in the second half.

James Lawton: A letter to Cesc... Farewell amigo, you can walk away with your head held high

You enlivened our stage with a whole range of possibilities: the quickness of your wit, the speed on the ball and effortless control

Fabregas prepared to play second fiddle to Barça's maestros

Former Arsenal captain handed coveted No 4 shirt but will struggle to oust one of feted midfield trio

Scholes: United's new generation can be the best since class of '92

Paul Scholes has suggested that last season's Manchester United Youth Cup winning side looks the most promising since the fabled group of the early 1990s and can deliver three players to the first team within a year, with Ravel Morrison the lead contender for the leap which so many 18-year-olds fail to make.

'He's full of fire and dignity': Why Chelsea are so keen to get Hiddink

The charismatic Dutchman's successful spell at the club in 2009 convinced Abramovich that he is the man who can finally bring European glory to SW6

What is driving Guus's desire to return to the Bridge?

Guus Hiddink is a 64-year-old who loves playing golf and riding his Harley Davidson. He cherishes his private life and has enough money to retire on, several times over. So what would make him want to take one of the most stressful, and demanding, jobs in football?

James Lawton: Perhaps Graham Taylor was right – this really is mission impossible

England have pretty much reached breaking point. This is the latest excruciating evidence that their international decline may not have hit rock bottom

Magical Messi casts his spell on United

Barcelona 3 Manchester United 1: Argentinian fires killer goal before Villa brings the house down for Barca
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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick