Sport

English sides paid out over $1bn in 2013

<b>Long, long shot </b><br/>
There have been Chinese whispers of a return to the Premier League for <b>Didier Drogba</b>, and despite the unpredictability of the Ivorian power-house, we give it a 0.01% chance of happening. The rumours surfaced as Shanghai Shenhua Chairman Zhu Jun supposedly threatened to put a lid on his cash-flow into the club, with the futures of Drogba and former Chelsea team-mate Nicholas Anelka looking edgy.

Didier Drogba is still under contract with Shanghai Shenhua claim Chinese club

Ivorian striker was announced as a Galatasaray player this week

Lionel Messi sends Gerd Mueller signed shirt after breaking goal record

Barcelona forward broke 40-year-old mark of 85 goals in a calender year

Hungary and Bulgaria sanctioned by Fifa for racism

FIFA have ordered Hungary and Bulgaria to each play their next home World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors following racist or anti-Semitic abuse by their fans.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi becomes most decorated player in history after winning unprecedented fourth straight Ballon d'Or

James Lawton: Lionel Messi makes us smile – Luis Suarez shows football's ugly new face

Messi’s argument for Andres Iniesta winning the Ballon D’Or was that he was the heartbeat and creative force of Spain’s historic achievement of winning three straight major international tournaments

Walk-off part: An angry Kevin-Prince Boateng of Milan (right) leaves the field in response to the racist abuse

Silvio Berlusconi reacts angrily to Sepp Blatter's comments about Kevin-Prince Boateng

Fifa president says AC Milan forward was wrong to walk off

Messi tipped to pick up fourth award after stellar year

Lionel Messi is poised to win a fourth Ballon d'Or tonight, making him the most decorated player in history after his achievement of becoming the highest-scoring player in a calendar year. The Barcelona forward is up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta for the award, which takes place at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.

Lionel Messi poised for fourth Ballon D'Or

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

Sepp Blatter disagrees with Kevin-Prince Boateng's actions over racist abuse

The FIFA president believes the midfielder acted wrongly in the face of racist chanting

Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng gestures towards his abusers

Kevin-Prince Boateng vows to walk-off even in Champions League games

AC Milan forward made a stand against racism after abuse during friendly

Mohamed bin Hammam is determined to disprove corruption allegations

Mohamed Bin Hammam issued with another life ban

Former presidential challenger banned by Fifa

Clashing symbol: Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel competes in the Club World Cup in Japan while on ‘day release’ from a woefully inadequate domestic ban

The Last Word: FA anti-racist action plan is just an insult

Football's leaders need to produce more than tokenism to prove they are up for the fight

Matches were fixed before 2010 World Cup, says Fifa

A FIFA report on match-fixing in the weeks before the 2010 World Cup has found “compelling evidence” that one or more friendly games involving host South Africa were fixed ahead of the showpiece tournament.

Lionel Messi

It's official: Lionel Messi DOESN'T hold the goal scoring record

Fifa refuse to ratify Lionel Messi's goalscoring record amid challenges from Brazil and Zambia

The Tigre players refused to come out for the second half on Wednesday

Tunnel bust-ups and guns spark safety fears over 2014 Brazil World Cup

Argentine side Tigre claim they were attacked by police and stadium staff but Fifa insists finals security worries unfounded

Supporters of Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC cheer for their team before their 2012 Copa Sudamericana final

Fifa confident over 2014 World Cup security despite violence at Copa Sudamericana final

Visiting players claim there were threatened with guns by security officials

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Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album