Sport Racing Santander speak to the referee after refusing to contest their Copa del Rey quarter-final due to unpaid wages

They lined up on the pitch against Real Sociedad, but then refused to contest the ball

Thiago Alcantara – La Roja's boy from Brazil

Manchester United’s target Thiago is more than ‘anarchist’

Free spirit who inspired Spain to Euro Under-21s glory has Barça buyout clause of just £15m

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup

Michael Laudrup insists he will stay despite breakdown in relationship between his agent and Swansea

There have been disagreements over the club's transfer policy

Lionel Messi investigated over £3.4m 'tax fraud' in Spain

The Argentina international is among the best paid athletes in the world

Bradley Smith ready to return for Catalan round of MotoGP after injury

Britain's Bradley Smith will be fit to race at the Catalan Grand Prix, despite suffering wrist and hand injuries in his heavy practice crash at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi pictured ahead of the tie with Bayern Munich

Champions League: Barcelona v Bayern Munich match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp

Roberto Mancini has received the backing of Manchester City’s low-profile chief executive, Ferran Soriano

Roberto Mancini is our 'champion', says Manchester City chief Ferran Soriano in rare public backing

Ferran Soriano breaks cover to praise under-pressure manager and dampen speculation on his exit

Bradley Wiggins

Relentless Bradley Wiggins takes charge in Tour of Catalonia opener

Team Sky rider finishes sixth after splitting pack

Lionel Messi trains with his Barcelona team-mates

Barcelona v AC Milan: 'Monster' Lionel Messi means no easy ride for Milan in the Champions League

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani hopes Ballon d'Or winner has a night off

Ferran Soriano (left) with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

Manchester City chief executive, Ferran Soriano, accused of spying on Barcelona

Manchester City chief executive allegedly used intelligence company to monitor staff emails

Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona

Lionel Messi signs Barcelona deal to 2018

The World Player of the Year has formally signed a new contract

Victor Valdes (centre) in action for Barcelona

Victor Valdes stuns Barcelona after telling them he wants to quit

Goalkeeper's decision will alert Premier League sides

Michael Laudrup has shrugged off suggestions that he could be the man to replace Jose Mourinho should the Portuguese’s contact with Real Madrid be terminated in the summer

Split vote leaves Catalonia's separatists in quest for allies

The leader of Catalonia's largest nationalist party insisted yesterday that plans for the region's referendum on independence from Spain would go ahead despite his party losing ground in Sunday's regional election.

Supporters of the Pro-independence Catalan party Convergence and Union (CIU) fly a Basque Country flag

Nationalists triumph in Catalan elections

But lack of clear mandate for leading party casts doubt on prospects for independence referendum

Leader of the pro-independence CiU, Artur Mas, has promised to begin the referendum process in the new year

Catalans vote on whether to remain in Spain

Economic woes are fuelling separatist feeling in the region

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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 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor