Sport

Midfielder Britto and Rafael Silva of Uniao Barbarense both wore the number five

Ferguson closes on Benzema after £16m Valencia swoop

Manchester United were moving closer last night to signing French striker Karim Benzema from Lyons only hours after taking the first step towards replacing Cristiano Ronaldo by completing a deal for Wigan Athletic's Luis Antonio Valencia.

Xavi slams 'uncontrollable' Ronaldo

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has blasted incoming Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo, saying there would be no room for him at the Camp Nou.

Coach hails US team after agonising final

USA coach Bob Bradley saw his side throw away a two-goal lead over Brazil in last night's Confederations Cup final - but then warned the world that his men are becoming genuine contenders on the global stage.

Adebayor to Milan rumours persist

AC Milan may yet try to sign Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor should they fail to lure Wolfsburg star Edin Dzeko to the San Siro.

Robinho strikes as Brazil win in style

United States 0 Brazil 3

Brazil and Italy recover to snatch opening wins

Brazil had to rely on a 90th-minute Kaka penalty to overcome Egypt and claim a barely deserved win to start their Confederations Cup defence in Bloemfontein. The South Americans looked to be on their way to an easy win in Group B after first-half goals from Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Juan opened up a 3-1 lead at the break. But two goals in as many minutes soon after the restart, from Mohamed Shawky and first-half scorer Mohamed Zidan, had Egypt dreaming of a memorable win.

Egypt angry with Webb after Kaka's late penalty

Egypt lodged a protest with Confederations Cup organisers after their 4-3 defeat by Brazil yesterday, claiming Brazil's late penalty was awarded illegally on the basis of video evidence by English referee Howard Webb.

World Cup Round-Up: Unbeaten Dutch book finals place

Van Bommel strike makes Netherlands first Europeans to qualify for South Africa

World Cup Qualifiers round-up: Dunne deal keeps Irish on Italy's heels

The Republic of Ireland stayed in the hunt for a place in the World Cup finals in South Africa next year with a crucial 1-1 draw away to Bulgaria that kept them on the heels of Italy in second place in Group Eight.

Wizardry of Messi has Barcelona flying high

Lionel Messi scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season to send Barcelona four points clear at the top and remind everyone that soon-to-be-announced European Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo is not completely without peers.

Ramos set for Berbatov showdown

Tottenham head coach Juande Ramos will meet Dimitar Berbatov later today and assess whether the striker will feature against Sunderland this weekend.

Answer is simple for Berbatov

Tottenham head coach Juande Ramos believes the only way for Dimitar Berbatov to silence jeers from his own fans this weekend is to find the net against Sunderland.

Fabiano shrugs off armed robbery to lift Seville

Luis Fabiano only scored twice in Seville's 5-0 demolition of Real Zaragoza on Saturday but still took the match ball home as a gift for his family, who had been robbed in their home at gunpoint on Friday afternoon.

Eto'o hat-trick keeps Barcelona in hot pursuit

There was talk of Real Madrid wrapping up the Spanish title in time to be given a guard of honour by Barcelona's players when they visit the Bernabeu three weeks from the end of the season, but that will not be happening if Samuel Eto'o has anything to do with it.

Henry and Barça ride luck to close title gap

Thierry Henry will touch down in Glasgow for Wednesday's Champions League tie against Celtic as Barcelona's joint top scorer having helped his side move to within five points of stumbling Real Madrid at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

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Independent Travel
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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

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Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

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Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

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After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

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Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

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Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect