Sport Juan Mata could go through a Manchester United initiation, but hopefully it won't be anything like David Beckham's

Beckham was forced to perform a sexual act on himself while looking at a picture of former United star Clayton Blackmore whereas in comparison Mata is likely to sing a song

Johanna Konta: The Briton, born in Sydney, has reached the second round of qualifying

Investment at Edgbaston pays off with tournament earning premier status

Pre-Wimbledon event gains star appeal as Britons progress at Melbourne qualifying

Lionel Messi poised for fourth Ballon D'Or

Award is handed out tonight, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta the other contenders

Terence Blacker: Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

For reasons no one quite understands, film directors have lost the knack of the satisfactory ending. Films tend to continue well after their natural ending, according to the actor Samuel L Jackson, who cites Spielberg's latest, Lincoln. Some meander, others go off in a new direction, or close with modish, irritating ambiguity. Ben Affleck, another Hollywood man, has blamed the need to pitch film ideas. "The thing about a pitch is that it does a great job figuring out the first and second acts, but no one ever sits down and works out the third act."

Mo Farah crossing the finishing line to win gold in the 5,000m final

Farewell 2012, the year Britain found its confidence

We may not have known it, but we are a confident nation

Christian Benteke

Premier League: Swansea v Aston Villa match preview

A look ahead to this week's Premier League fixture at the Liberty Stadium

Michael Clarke celebrates reaching his century at the MCG yesterday

Michael Clarke eclipses Ricky Ponting's record for runs in a year

Michael Clarke's inspired century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today ticked off another milestone for Australia's high-flying captain but was also a stunning riposte to critics who had suggested he should never have been selected.

Wasps’ No 8 Billy Vunipola goes on the charge during the win over Sale at Adams Park yesterday
The end of the world didn’t materialise and many were left with egg – or other objects – on their faces

11.12am came... and went. Oh well, it's not the end of the world

Everyone from nervous, hasty converts to tin-foiled pilgrims looking for room in a mountain were left somewhat wanting, says Peter Popham

Suzi Perry

Suzi Perry replaces Jake Humphrey as BBC's Formula One presenter

BBC will not be showing the Monaco Grand Prix next season

Armageddon flop: After all that fuss it really wasn't the end of the world

Events organised across the planet for people to either gather for the oncoming Armageddon or to celebrate together the continuance of the human race

The Queen sits among members of the Cabinet today, flanked by David Cameron and Nick Clegg

If the world is going to end on Friday, good thing HM the Queen has started on her ‘bucket list’

First up a meeting with the Cabinet, but what comes next?

Indigenous Mayan people at a ceremony outside Guatemala City

What have the Mayans ever done for us... apart from predict the end of the world?

Tim Walker on the constructive side of the prophets of doom

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi agrees new Barcelona deal

Argentina international extends deal until 2018

Terence Blacker: Christmas cards are an empty ritual

Dear Once-a-Year Friend, I am writing to tell you of a change to our normal Christmas arrangements. This year, we (as I like to call myself on occasions like this) shall not be sending out Christmas cards to you or our other once-a-year friends.

Rafael in action against West Ham

Rafael savouring regular starts for Manchester United

Brazilian feels he has grown in confidence and maturity

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Day In a Page

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 Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower