Ryan Giggs did not develop into the towering world figure his talent suggested he might become

Kevin Garside: As good a player as he still is, Ryan Giggs could have been so much more

Ryan Giggs as national treasure is a hard bubble to prick. The eulogies rained down on Friday on the occasion of his 40th birthday. The celebration of such a landmark, uncommon for an active footballer, is no place for the dissenting voice. But what about the day after? Is this the time to reflect more critically on the career of a Manchester United great?

Claudio Nancufil

Claudio Nancufil: The 'new' Lionel Messi attracting interest from Barcelona and the Premier League at the age of eight

He looks like Lionel Messi, comes from the same country as the Argentine superstar and, at the age of eight, already has Barcelona’s interest piqued. At the risk of building up hype that few would be able to match, remember the name: Claudio Nancufil.

'SmartWig': Sony files patent for computerised hair piece

The patent filing describes how the device could be used to monitor users' health, give directions or just help out with a slide-show presentation

The Harmondsworth Immigration Detention centre where Isa Muazu is detained

'Close to death' hunger striker faces imminent deportation after court defeat

A man who is "close to death" after being on hunger strike in immigration detention for three months could be sent back to Nigeria on Wednesday after his case failed in the Court of Appeal.

Prototype of Anthony Gormley's manhole, which can be found at the junction of Maxted Road and Sandison Street in Peckham, south London, near the artist’s old studio

Antony Gormley's Peckham manhole cover

Alice Jones' Arts Diary: Ed Balls learns the piano, West End welcomes expenses scandal and Joanna Lumley meets will.i.am

Boxing: Carl Froch last man standing in a battle of brutal brilliance against George Groves

Controversy after referee stops Groves to end one of best bouts ever

Fulham 1 Swansea City 2 match report: Fulham in turmoil as Jonjo Shelvey pushes martin Jol closer to edge

Fulham’s new double-Dutch era, with the former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen having joined fellow countryman Martin Jol, is off to a bad start, raising the question of how long it will last. Boos and chants of “we want Jol out” were heard after this fifth successive defeat in all competitions, during which 15 goals have been shipped.

Sting in the tale: Wasps’ centre Elliot Daly is being tipped for a senior cap

Quickfire Elliot Daly can give England ‘a Ma’a Nonu moment'

Enjoyable as it has been to wallow in Jonny Wilkinson’s World Cup-winning dropped goal from 10 years ago, the seminal moment on the minds of current players and coaches in recent days was an offload by an All Black last weekend.

Paperback review: Time's Anvil, By Richard Morris

“One thing we bring to time,” writes archaeologist Richard Morris in this multi-levelled book about digging up the English past, “is a compulsion to split it up”.

Page 3 Profile: Tessa Jowell, politician

She’s a rather experienced politician.

The novel cure: Stuck in a house chain

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

Gifts for globetrotters

The best in festive travel

A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A310 pictured at Leeds Bradford Airport in 2011

Pilot jailed for turning up drunk to fly 156 people from UK to Pakistan

The 55-year-old was breath-tested at Leeds Bradford Airport in September

The winner of the 2013 'The World's Biggest Liar' competition Mike Naylor

Story of mythical marine creature takes top prize at Cumbria's World's Biggest Liar competition

Mike Naylor, aka Monkey Liar, defeats tall tales of 11 fibbers to claim £25 prize

Australia's Ryan Harris (left) celebrates taking the wicket of England's Alastair Cook

Ashes 2013-14: Geoffrey Boycott slams England for 'giving away the First Test'

The tourists were skittled for 136 on Day Two of the Test

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick