Sport

The Real Madrid forward must continue to work hard says the three-time World Cup winner

Talent Scout: Adam Maher, AZ Alkmaar

There never seems to be a shortage of teenage superstars in the modern game, especially in the Netherlands, a country famed for its remarkable production line of supreme prospects. But scratch beyond the hype and natural excitement young players attract, and the truth is few are consistently good enough to have earned such a reputation so early.

Phil Brown was in charge for just 11 months

Preston sack manager Phil Brown

Phil Brown has been sacked by Preston North End after just 11 months in the job.

The new St George's Park facility, which is nearing completion, will put England on a par with France

St George's can deliver, says Pearce

Under-21 manager thinks new national centre will help England end their 45-year trophy drought

The legendary Brazilian midfielder, Socrates, died yesterday aged 57

The Socrates philosophy

The legendary Brazilian midfielder, who died yesterday aged 57, believed it was how you played rather than if you won that counted most – as his 1982 side showed

FA admit failure as 11-a-side teams in England decline

The numbers of teams offering men the chance to play full 11-a-side football is dropping, figures released by the Football Association today will show, with more than 1600 sides disappearing across the country in the last three years alone.

Two great No 10s go head-to-head

Football's most famous No 10 went for a kickabout at another famous No 10 yesterday, as Pele dropped in to Downing Street for a game in the Prime Minister's garden with a group of youngsters.

Sexy singers and rolling balls fail to prevent another bore draw

It was about 20 minutes into The Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ that it became clear you would need a passion for consuming large amounts of mostly meaningless data or an in-depth knowledge of Brazilian music to get much out of it.

Marta plans to take Brazil one step beyond

The Women's World Cup finals kick off in Germany today with Pele set to be the star attraction. That's 'Pele de Saias' (Pele in a skirt), the Brazilian striker, Marta, whose brilliance as a youngster so enraptured the nation's football followers that she was handed the iconic nickname that has stuck to a genius who has been named Fifa's World Player of the Year five times in succession.

Neymar helps Santos to reprise glory days of Pele

Santos hope that Neymar, the Brazilian teenager with the Mohican and the quicksilver feet, will resist the lure of Europe for one more season after the club won the Copa Libertadores – the South America equivalent of the Champions League – for the first time since Pele's heyday in 1963.

Neymar delivers Copa Libertadores triumph to Santos

Santos 2 Peñarol 1 (Santos win 2-1 on aggregate)

Messi is even better than Pele and Maradona, says Ardiles

Lionel Messi will go down as the greatest player in footballing history, better even than Diego Maradona and Pele, according to the former Argentina and Tottenham midfielder Ossie Ardiles, who claims Barcelona's Messi is similar to their fellow countryman Maradona – except better.

Messi will be 'greatest ever player'

Lionel Messi will go down as the greatest player in footballing history - better even than Diego Maradona and Pele, according to Ossie Ardiles.

Drawn to the stars: Sketchy memories of Sir Alf and his ilk

From a naked Evonne Goolagong to a very distracted George Best, Paul Trevillion tells Simon Hart of some amazing artistic encounters

James Lawton: Standing on the shoulders of the 'Gentle Giant', Ramsey can inspire a Welsh revival

Jimmy Murphy, the Wales manager, said that Charles was more than one of the greatest players he had ever seen, 'he is a messiah'
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?