Sport Spain midfielder Juan Mata

Juan Mata follows in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best and Eric Cantona

No doubting the original-thinking Thomas

on Monday

1996: The shape of things to come

Racing: Never, never on a Saturday

TALK: Van Morrison in Conversation

Well, more of a sort of inarticulate speech of the heart, really. By Phil Johnson

I awoke, and the world was a different place

I WASN'T so much on holiday last week as asleep, in a health farm in Bedfordshire. It was boring but restorative and I drove back to London eager to face the world, only to find it had gone mad. My mother, my friends, my colleagues, my next-door neighbour, even the Guardian newsdesk only wanted to talk about one thing. On Radio 4, angry emotional people called Nick Ross to swear on air; not that I mind, but I can think of dozens of other subjects, from homelessness to nuclear testing, which are on the face of it more likely to provoke people into saying "shit" on a live national radio network. Even the editor of the Sun called up to give his readers' reaction.

Best takes top spot in the league of heroes

JOHN McKIE

What a nice man - what a very nice man

David Patterson has a mild obsession: to find anyone who will say something mean about the designer Paul Smith. Not a chance

girls who wear moustaches

METROPOLITRAN LIFE A curious new addition to urban club culture, beer-swigging, bearded drag kings - the lesbian answer to drag queens - are a playful backlash to the media's love affair with lesbian chic

how to ride a bike

When I discovered that the shiny new bike under the Christmas tree was for my big sister and not for me, I went on bike strike; two wheels, who needs them?

Poetry, motion and Cantona's mind games

Sport on TV

Opinions: Has a woman ever sexually harassed you?: BR guard Jan Hustwitt was sacked last week for harassing a male driver

GEORGE BEST, ex-footballer: Yes, on many occasions, and it's almost always a bloody nuisance unless they are very beautiful.

COMEDY / A hope in Hill: It's not every stand-up who compares himself to Tarbie. James Rampton takes a dose of Harry Hill's logical surrealism

Harry Hill is fed-up with reading headlines about himself such as 'Doctor hits funnybone', 'Surgeon on the ridiculous', 'Bedpan humour', and 'Laughter the best medicine'. But what does he expect? If you are unique among stand-up comedians in being a former hospital doctor, then medical puns are always going to be on the prescription - sorry, the agenda.

Sport on TV: A long night from the days of innocence

FOR Bank Holiday Monday, BBC 2 opened its legs, showed its class and gave us Goal TV: more than five hours of football with one five-minute break - for Chile v Italy from 1962, the famous 'Battle of Santiago' in which off-the-ball incidents easily outnumbered on- the-ball incidents. Like much in this compilation, it wasn't pretty but it was effective. That's how it is with the long-haul game.

Almanack: Swiss score twice

TO THE delight of continental tabloids, the Swiss football team's coach Roy Hodgson has relaxed the sex ban on his players for the World Cup finals. But his players and their wives and girlfriends are only in a state of modified rapture: they will be allowed two brief conjugal visits: on 18 June after the team's match against the United States, and on 26 June after their game against Colombia.

Football: Cantona: 'I will stay as long as I'm happy': Who will win the the football writers' Footballer of the Year award? Eric Cantona, who won the PFA's award this week and may carry off a rare double, talks to Erik Bielderman about his unlikely success in England

You're the first foreign player to win the Professional Footballers' Association award as player of the year in the award's 20-year history. How do you feel about it?

Fashion: Sock horror probe] - Alison Veness investigates the rise, fall and rise again of the knee-high nylon nightmare: pop sox. Would you pay pounds 120 a pair?

Get this. Pop sox are stylish. It seems impossible, doesn't it - even with fashion's dedication to turning bad taste into new chic. It seems unthinkable that pop sox, for so long a guilty secret hidden under trousers, should surface. But they have.
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The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

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Panama
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

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How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

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