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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003