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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links