Sport

Video: Simon Rice and Jack de Menezes look ahead to Liverpool's huge test at the Bernabeu

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be going to the World Cup
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo pictured in October's El Clasico

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi's brother mocks Cristiano Ronaldo by comparing the trophy haul of the duo

The Barcelona and Real Madrid forwards are in the running for the Fifa Ballon d'Or, although Franck Ribery is the favourite to win the prize

Didier Deschamps' France side face a tricky first leg in Ukraine

World Cup play-offs: Romania seek to spark national revival in Brazil

The clash of giant egos is in Lisbon, the romance in Reykjavik, and the only previous winner under threat plays in Kiev, but perhaps the most intriguing European World Cup play-off begins on Friday night in Athens.

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates his first goal in the 5-1 win over Real Sociedad with Gareth Bale on Saturday

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Have the 2013 achievements of Cristiano Ronaldo been played down on Fifa's website?

Real Madrid winger has been at odds with Fifa and Sepp Blatter recently

Steven Gerrard is hoping success this season will convince Luis Suarez to stay with Liverpool

Steven Gerrard votes for Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez to win the Ballon d'Or

Franck Ribery is the favourite to win the prestigious award

Lionel Messi is suffering his worst goalless run in two years

Lionel Messi injury: Barcelona forward to fall 46 goals short of last year's record breaking season

The Argentina international is not expected to play again this year

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Real Madrid's Welsh striker Gareth Bale

Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat-trick in Real Madrid rout of Real Sociedad

With Gareth Bale in the side, Carlo Ancelotti's team won 5-1

Louie Theophanous, of Staines (left), and Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid

Meet the Staines striker with a sideline as Cristiano Ronaldo's body double

It is no surprise that Louie Theophanous wants to use this weekend's FA Cup first round as a platform to finally seize his moment in the spotlight. For a few hours, every three months, he stands alongside Cristiano Ronaldo as a footballing equal. That is until the cameras stop rolling.

Manuel Pellegrini has made City a relentless attacking force

Manchester City 5 CSKA Moscow 2 analysis: Sergio Aguero is up with the best, David Silva is the golden boy and City are now more attacking

Five things we learnt from the Champions League victory at the Emirates

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring Real Madrid’s second goal

Champions League round-up: Gareth Bale’s strike not enough for Real Madrid

Gareth Bale scored his first goal in the Champions League for Real Madrid, but the Spanish side still lost their 100 per cent record in Group B as they were held 2-2 by Juventus.

Gareth Bale celebrates after providing the assist for one of Cristiano Ronaldo's goals against Galatasaray

Roberto Carlos bucks the trend by claiming Gareth Bale IS worth £86m

Former defender says Real Madrid were right to break the world record transfer fee to sign the Welshman

Redknapp has claimed that Bale needed toughening up to become the success he is today

Harry Redknapp claims Gareth Bale was 'too soft to be a defender' and that he was more concerned with his hair when he joined Tottenham

Now the world's most expensive player, Redknapp has spoken of the transformation that got him to where he is today

Two-goal hero Adnan Januzaj is subbed off

Adnan Januzaj: Player analysis of the latest bright talent at Manchester United

A brief look at what the 18-year-old has already achieved

Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria

Champions League: Angel Di Maria refuses to give up place as he and Cristiano Ronaldo score doubles for Real Madrid

The Spanish side beat FC Copenhagen 4-0 at the Bernabeu

FIFA 14's player ratings: How do the top fives stack up?

The overall top five doesn't contain many surprises, but who has clinched the top spot for pace or passing?

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect