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

Balotelli urged to be patient amid worries over form and fitness

Mario Balotelli was frustrated with himself, rather than his manager, when he left the field after an hour of Manchester City's FA Cup win over Notts County, having felt that that he should not have missed out on goals. Balotelli's characteristically vivid expression of frustration – he threw his snood to the ground – was interpreted as a reaction to Roberto Mancini's decision to substitute him, though the 20-year-old is understood to feel that he had a poor game and that he missed out in a way that his team-mates did not.

Arsenal v Barcelona player ratings

Man-for-man marking from the Emirates Stadium

Xavi and Andres Iniesta hail Fifa winner Lionel Messi

Barcelona duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta both lauded club-mate Lionel Messi after tonight being pipped by the Argentinian to become the inaugural winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Argentina to meet Portugal at Emirates Stadium

Argentina will play a friendly international against Portugal in London on Feb. 9.

Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta shortlisted for Fifa Ballon d'Or

Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Javier Pastore likely to leave Palermo

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has given his strongest hint yet that Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore will leave the club next summer.

Barcelona are better than Real Madrid says Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi thinks that Barcelona are still a better team than Real Madrid as the build-up to this month's El Clasico intensifies.

Lionel Messi better than Diego Maradona says Xavi

Barcelona talisman Xavi insists that team-mate Lionel Messi is better than Diego Maradona ever was.

Villa runs in the blood for new hero of the Holte End

Exciting young winger Marc Albrighton tells Sam Wallace about his love affair with the club he has supported since he was two

Palermo would not sell Pastore for €60m

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini says that even a bid of 60million euros would not be enough to persuade him to sell Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore.

Beauty and the Inferno by Roberto Saviano, trans. Oonagh Stransky

Success is a terrible disaster," wrote Malcolm Lowry after the acclaim that greeted Under the Volcano. Roberto Saviano felt the full force of that insight when the triumph of his first book, Gomorrah, a hallucinatory exploration of the world of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia, led to plausible death threats from gangsters he had exposed, and an indefinite sentence to life under escort.

Messi returns for Barcelona's revenge mission against Rubin

Lionel Messi could return for Barcelona in tonight's Champions League match at Rubin Kazan with the Spanish champions determined not to repeat last year's costly mistake of taking the Russian side too lightly.

Hleb has raised Birmingham expectations

Alex McLeish admits he does have to manage expectations slightly when it comes to Alexander Hleb as the midfielder adjusts to life having swapped Barcelona for Birmingham.

Rooney shortlisted for Europe's best club player award

Wayne Rooney is the only Premier League player on the 12-man shortlist for Uefa's Club Footballer of the Year. Internazionale, who won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho, have five and Barcelona four.

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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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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
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices