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

Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson enjoy an embrace after the match between Real Mardid and Manchester United

Manchester United conduct 'feasability study' into re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo

The Premier League leaders sold the Portugal forward to Real Madrid for £80m

Boateng and Muntari were the heroes for Milan
Sami Khedira celebrates his goal

International round-up: Sami Khedira clinches Germany's historic win

Germany came from behind to beat France for the first time in 26 years as Joachim Löw’s side triumphed 2-1 in Paris.

Socrates’ Brazil of 1982 are still considered the best team never to have won the World Cup

James Lawton: Why the beauty and pain of South Americans' game always guarantees emotion

From Pele's triumph in 1970 to Socrates' despair in 1982, no other nation comes close to matching Brazil's unbridled passion

Paul Lambert said: “I trust Randy [Lerner]. That’s the kind of relationship I have with him. I spoke with him after the game the other night and we have a good conversation every time.'

Aston Villa signings Yacouba Sylla and Simon Dawkins ready for action

Paul Lambert will have no hesitation in immediately calling up new signings

Cesc Fabregas struck for Barça at the Bernabeu last night
Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez 'deserves Champions League football' says Steven Gerrard

Concerns striker will move elsewhere if Liverpool fail to finish fourth

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Andres Iniesta and the best players never to win the award

Barcelona and Spain midfielder was overlooked yet again this week

Spot the winner: Lionel Messi at this year's awards

The Ballon d'Or: Shimmering statuettes, simmering rivalries – but dodgier suits

The Ballon d'Or is the Oscars of the football world

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Manchester this week, but there is pain in Spain for the still under-appreciated Ronaldo

PSG 'target' Cristiano Ronaldo refuses to discuss his Real Madrid future

World's most expensive player has also been linked with a return to Manchester United

Lionel Messi told he must score another 22 goals this year to break record

Zambian FA claim record belongs to Godfrey Chitalu who scored 107 goals in a calendar year

Rafa Benitez, the Chelsea interim manager, was excused of blame

Rafael Benitez wants Europa League consolation prize for Chelsea

Champions League holders fail to progress from group

Wilfried Zaha made his England debut in Sweden on Wednesday

Wilfried Zaha has been shocked by his rapid rise, claims Ian Holloway

Wilfried Zaha may have been proclaimed as the latest saviour of English football, but Ian Holloway is worried that being in the spotlight may damage his development.

Steven Caulker had set his sights on making his breakthrough with the Three Lions before his 21st birthday

Tottenham defender Steven Caulker achieves personal milestone with England debut

Steven Caulker achieved a personal milestone with less than two months to spare when making his England debut in last night's friendly international against Sweden in Stockholm.

Fifa won't add Zlatan Ibrahimovic's wonder goal as a candidate for 2013 Puskas Award

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his astonishing overhead kick goal against England hours too late to be named best goal in 2012 in a Fifa contest.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform