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 dismiss Guardiola link to Manchester United

Barcelona president Joan Laporta today shrugged off speculation linking coach Pep Guardiola with a move to Manchester United and insisted he is "convinced" the Spaniard will sign a new deal to stay at the Nou Camp.

Lionel Messi named World Player of the Year

Barcelona’s Argentinian ace Lionel Messi has been named as FIFA's World Player of the Year for 2009.

Football in brief: Striker Benjani to stay and fight for first-team place at Eastlands

Out-of-favour striker Benjani insists he has no desire to leave Manchester City, despite being a long way down Mark Hughes's selection list.

Guardiola calm after Barcelona draw

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola admits only time will tell how good a result their goalless Champions League draw with Rubin Kazan was.

Iniesta to sign new Barcelona deal

Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has revealed he could sign an improved deal with the Catalan giants within the fortnight.

Clubs and FA failing the next generation

Talking point

Fabregas hails 'incredible' Spain

Cesc Fabregas hailed Spain's strength in depth after helping the European champions clinch their spot in next year's World Cup finals.

Coyle hopes to kick-start season against United

Sir Alex Ferguson is almost known as much for his love of fine wine as winning trophies but while Jose Mourinho gave him a bottle of Sassicaia worth £300 last season, he may have to settle for an Irn Bru at Turf Moor tomorrow night.

Barcelona to test Liverpool's Mascherano resolve

Barcelona are set to launch a £25m bid for Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, according to reports today.

Chelsea appeal against Uefa punishments

Chelsea have appealed against the punishments handed out by Uefa following the club's Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona, the governing body confirmed today.

Barcelona refuse to follow Real's transfer policy

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is confident that his club will not be forced into paying excessive fees to try and emulate Real Madrid’s expected transfer activity.

Capello admits he can't rival Spain's flair

England are plotting a route to the World Cup based on substance not style. Sam Wallace reports from Almaty

'Coaching is key to creating our own Iniesta or Xavi'

Brooking says lessons must be learnt in order to develop young players

Liverpool fall behind in race for Tevez

Liverpool's negotiating position has placed them behind Manchester City in the pursuit of Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez. Rafael Benitez does not appear to be willing to match the £25.5m the Argentinian's representatives are seeking from United for the settlement of the loan of the player, under a deal which expires at the end of this month.

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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
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
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
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor