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.

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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape