Sport Captain Lionel Messi provided the words of wisdom in the team-talk to inspire Argentina to victory

The Argentina captain delivered a compelling team-talk before Argentina won 4-2 in the penalty shootout, securing their place in the World Cup Final

Barcelona revealed their plans for the redevelopment of the Nou Camp Stadium

Barcelona set to redevelop Nou Camp to increase capacity to a staggering 105,000 - 15,000 more than its closest rival Wembley

Club president Sandro Rosell has confirmed that a vote will take place in April over whether to approve the build after plans for a new stadium were scrapped

Cristiano Ronaldo at the Fifa Ballon d'Or awards alongside Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Franck Ribery still fuming over award snub - 'Cristiano Ronaldo won nothing'

The Bayern Munich winger says he is no longer interested in the award

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo
Cristiano Ronaldo fights back tears after winning the Fifa Ballon d'Or award

Cristiano Ronaldo admits Rio Ferdinand attempted to persuade him into a Manchester United return following Ballon d'Or success

Ronaldo has confirmed that he seriously considered a return to Old Trafford when his future was uncertain last summer before he signed a new £76m contract

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo in numbers

The Real Madrid forward was today anointed the world's best player

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo unable to hold back tears after beating Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to award

The Real Madrid forward wins the award for the second time in his career

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win ahead of Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi, say readers of The Independent

We asked you who deserved to win among the three short-listed players

Lionel Messi heads wide in the draw with Atletico Madrid

Lionel Messi is 'an alien' says Arda Turan following Atletico Madrid's draw with Barcelona

The Argentine forward returned to La Liga action in the 0-0 game

Lionel Messi heads wide in the draw with Atletico Madrid

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid content with draw that allows Real Madrid to close the gap

The sides drew 0-0 in the Spanish capital in a game of few clear chances

Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring for Liverpool against Cardiff City

Luis Suarez is 'the best player in the world', claims Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

Step aside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - the best player on the planet resides at Anfield

The players run for cover after referee Mark Clattenberg postpones the League Cup quarter-final, although the Stoke City players don't appear to be in a rush as they want play to continue.

Stoke 0 Manchester United 2: League Cup quarter-final postponed for 10 minutes after heavy rain and hail hits the Brittania Stadium

Players run for cover as the Potteries turns into a Winter Wonderland

An aerial view of the Christ The Redeemer statue (F) and the venue for the final - the Maracana Stadium

World Cup 2014: England's possible route to glory - taking in Spain, Germany and Brazil

We take a look at the path Roy Hodgson's side would likely take to the final in Rio

Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez celebrate after the former scores for Uruguay

Transfer news: Any move for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez would break Gareth Bale's £86m world-record fee, claims Edinson Cavani

The Paris St-Germain striker claims Suarez is on a par with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo according to his Uruguayan team-mate

Luis Suarez is targeting a return to the Champions League with Liverpool

Luis Suarez 'masterclass' enjoyed by Liverpool team-mate Joe Allen

The Uruguay striker scored four goals against Norwich

Southampton v Aston Villa: Christian Benteke backed to end goal drought by Paul Lambert

The striker has gone seven games without a goal

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'