Gareth Bale  celebrates after scoring Real Madrid’s third goal during their 4-0 Club World Cup victory over Mexico’s Cruz Azul in Marrakech

European champions Real Madrid turned on the party tricks as they sailed into the Club World Cup final by crushing Cruz Azul 4-0 on Tuesday.The Mexic(...)

The match fixtures are shown on a panel following the draw of the round of 16 soccer matches of the UEFA Champions League 2014/15 in Nyon, Switzerland, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The final is scheduled for June 6 at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. (AP Photo/Keystone,Jean-Christophe Bott)

This year’s draw for the knockout stage has thrown up some tantalising games, including Manchester City’s clash with Barcelona and a tough encounter (...)

Juventus’ captain Gianluigi Buffon celebrates with his team mates at the end of the match against Atletico Madrid in their Champions League Group A soccer match at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Photograph: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters

Group AJuventus had veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to thank as they scraped into the Champions League knockout stage with a goalless draw at home(...)

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi collects the ball after scoring his hat trick against Espanyol during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona. Photograph: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters

Lionel Messi scored yet another hat-trick and surpassed 400 club goals as Barcelona came from behind to win the Catalan derby 5-1 against Espanyol in (...)

Stephanie Roche has made it to a shortlist of three for the Fifa Puskás Award for the best goal of the year with Robin van persie and James Rodriguez. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ireland’s Stephanie Roche has been shortlisted for Fifa’s Goal of the Year award alongside Colombia’s James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie of the N(...)

Ronaldo in action back in 2004 for Brazil v Republic of Ireland in Lansdowne Road. Photograph: David Maher/Edi

Brazil’s new manager Dunga faces an uphill battle to repair the scars of Brazil’s World Cup campaign, but is at least looking like he might be on the (...)

Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro stoops to head in his side’s late winner against Argentina at Old Trafford

Portugal 1 Argentina 0There was scant sign of the apparent animus between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo before the start of this friendly encount(...)

World and Olympic champion Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan. Photograph: Getty Images.

After the disappointment of that kick-about in Glasgow on Friday, a change of sporting pace was required over the weekend, one where you wouldn’t be q(...)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers  looks on as Steven Gerrard  prepares to come on during the  Champions League Group B match against Real Madrid  at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hit back at criticism of his team selection against Real Madrid by insisting the team’s performance provided an idea(...)

 Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema celebrates his goal against Liverpool during their Champions League   match  at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Photograph: Javier Lizon / EPA

Real Madrid 1 Liverpool 0By the end, at least Brendan Rodgers could make a credible argument that he could have started with his best men and there wa(...)