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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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
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
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