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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Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus all the build-up to Man City vs Chelsea and Everton vs Palace
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Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
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people'I hated him during those times'
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Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
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Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
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tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam