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

Little maestro hits another remarkable note

Finally after 681 minutes it came. Leo Messi's 54th-minute goal last night was his first in England and it came so soon after it had seemed that he had missed his greatest opportunity to break a duck that had seen him play seven matches for Barcelona and one for Argentina without scoring on English soil.

Xavi warns of United's 'spectacular' standards

Ferguson's side pose a serious threat with range of options and experience, warns Barça playmaker

Barcelona v Manchester United: Champions League final preview

Wembley will host the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United this Saturday.

Andres Iniesta: 'I would look at the Nou Camp and think will I ever make it?'

Andres Iniesta tells Pete Jenson about his struggle to make it at Barça, his respect for Guardiola and his fear of Scholes and Giggs

Real coach pays penalty for refusing to play fair

If they were in school they would be made to sit apart until the end of term. Barcelona and Real Madrid bring out the worst in each other. Barça, anticipating the opposition's over-physical approach, exaggerate the theatrics. Madrid – and more specifically Jose Mourinho – believe the opposition cannot be beaten at football and so do everything in their powers to stifle the beautiful game.

James Lawton: Jose's smile fades as diabolical deal backfires

If there are still questions about Barcelona's reputation as the greatest team we have ever seen, those against Lionel Messi's ability to do anything he chooses seem to shrivel a little more with each new challenge.

Andres Iniesta escapes Champions League ban

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is free to play in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid after escaping punishment from UEFA for allegedly getting deliberately booked.

Barcelona appeal against Andres Iniesta Champions League suspension

Barcelona have decided to appeal UEFA's proposal to ban Andres Iniesta for one Champions League match for deliberately collecting a yellow card.

Barcelona not through yet insists Pep Guardiola

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has warned "this isn't over" despite seeing his side build a 5-1 first leg lead in their Champions League quarter-final tie against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Barcelona hit five to set up likely Real showdown

Barcelona 5 Shakhtar Donetsk 1

Brilliant Barcelona maul Shakhtar

Barcelona 5 Shakhtar Donetsk 1

James Lawton: Rooney's lack of control is a potential tragic waste

He has become sullen, beyond an inherent lack of grace. It is a retreat behind barbed wire

Fall of Giants: That book sounds good

'3D audio' on tablet computers and ebooks are bringing the technology of the movies onto the pages of a novel. Ian Burrell explains how

James Lawton: Forget the hype, Guardiola's Barça are still eclipsed by the true greats

Take at least one step back and it is hard not to believe that the Milan team of Arrigo Sacchi would have started firm favourites against Pep Guardiola's Barça

Xavi: Arsenal played without joy

Wenger and Nasri charged by Uefa for 'inappropriate language' as Barça players criticise Gunners' approach

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003