Barcelona’s Lionel Messi misses the target with a diving header from his penalty rebound against Manchester City during their Champions League  tie at the Etihad Stadium. Photograph: EPA

There was a moment in the first half here, midway through a period of almost dreamy Barcelona superiority, when Manchester City might have considered (...)

 Luis Suarez  scores the opening goal past Joe Hart. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 Perhaps the most dispiriting part for Manchester City came from that numbing feeling that, if anything, the gulf has wid(...)

Manchester City  midfielder Samir Nasri  listens to  manager Manuel Pellegrini  during a press conference prior to the Barcelona clash.  Photo: Oli Scarffoli/Getty

Samir Nasri believes Manchester City showed Barcelona too much respect in last season’s Champions League and said City “won’t be scared” when the club(...)

Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar  trains at the Etihad Stadium prior to tonight’s clash with Manchester City. Photo: Photo: Oli Scarffoli/AFP/Getty

There are no more starry eyes at Manchester City about reaching the Champions League knockout stage and facing Barcelona.As Samir Nasri characterises(...)

Real Madrid celebrate during the La Liga match between Elche FC and Real Madrid - manager Carlo Ancelotti forsees the league title being decided on the final match day. Photograph: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Real Madrid may have extended their lead over second-placed Barcelona at the top of La Liga to four points on Sunday but coach Carlo Ancelotti still (...)

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez speaks with team mate Lionel Messi during their match against Malaga at Camp Nou. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has been the driving force behind their recent prolific form but was largely anonymous in a costly home defeat by Mala(...)

Detail from ‘Lionel Messi and a Universe of Flowers’  by Takashi Murakami, which sold for £317,000 in a charity auction at Sotheby’s, London

The worlds of international soccer and fine art rarely collide, but last week in London, at a charity auction in Sotheby’s, one of the world’s most fa(...)

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo heads home a goal  during the  Champions League round of 16 first leg  match against   Schalke  in Gelsenkirchen. Photograph: Bernd Thissen/EPA

Schalke 0 Real Madrid 2Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo ended a three-game goal drought as the holders beat Schalke 2-0 on Wednesday to take a big step(...)

Eamon O’Shea acquired the reputation of being an innovative  hurling coach and when Liam Sheedy invited him in to join the Tipperary set up, the players instantly responded to  his training methods. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

“I never retired! I didn’t retire. Babs didn’t pick me,” Eamon O’Shea clarifies with a laugh, lightly poking fun at his last days as the skilful, u(...)

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) quarter final first leg football match FC Barcelona vs Atletico de Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. Photograph: Lluis Genelluis/Getty Images

Barcelona’s recent strong run is helping the club put a series of off-field problems behind them and suggests they may be starting to move up the gear(...)