Pele

Lionel Messi hailed as 'the best' by Pep Guardiola

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hailed the unique talents of Lionel Messi after the Argentina forward's five goals against Bayer Leverkusen last night eased the holders into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

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Sam Wallace: It's not just Gazza left behind by Germans of '96

It is almost 16 years since Stuart Pearce scored his penalty against Germany in the shoot-out at the end of England's semi-final at Euro '96, a brief moment of exhilaration in what turned out to be another famous disappointment chalked up by the national team.

Plastic pitches in line to return

English football is a step closer to reintroducing artificial pitches after the Football League announced plans to seek opinion on their possible return. The public consultation will run until the end of April and canvass the views of clubs, fans and officials.