Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill gives his orders during squad training at Gannon Park, Malahide, ahead of the Group D Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland at the Aviva stadium in Dublin. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters.

If team spirit is an illusion glimpsed in the moment of victory, then you could say the same thing about managerial ability. When you win you’ve got i(...)

England fans sing their national anthem before the friendly match with the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It’s not often we have England for Sunday lunch, but happily the visitors to the Afifa were impeccably behaved this time, apart from those moments whe(...)

‘The world of football has possibly never known a man to distribute the ball like Xavi Hernández (L). Arguably only Andrea Pirlo (R) in the modern game can rival him in being so niggardly with possession.’ Photographs: Reuters and EPA.

Someone calculated that the gematria values – where a numerical value is assigned to a letter – of Xavi (56) and pass (55) and they are almost iden(...)

Orchestrating everything is Messi, an all-round genius who could run past four players or pick out a runner on the far side with a no-look pass. There’s no way to tell.

Rio Ferdinand tells a story in his autobiography about the time he asked Thierry Henry to pick a favourite between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Mes(...)

Luis Enrique’s Barcelona are on the brink of the treble. Photograph: Getty

Luis Enrique declared hunting season open in the first week of November and it lasted well into the new year. Barcelona had just been beaten at home b(...)

Barcelona remain on course for the treble after they beat Atletic Bilbao 3-1 in the Copa del Rey final. Photograph: Afp

Athletic Bilbao 1 Barcelona 3 Lionel Messi scored another wonder goal as Barcelona moved a step closer to completing the treble on Saturday nig(...)

Barcelona’s head coach Luis Enrique: “I have three matches ahead of me and I will talk once the season is over.” Photo: Toni Albir/EPA

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique dismissed questions about whether he will stay on next season, saying he will comment once the current campaign, when the(...)

Barcelona’s midfielder Xavi Hernandez is set to announce his departure on Thursday. Photo: Getty Images

Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez has announced he will join Qatari side Al-Sadd this summer, ending his 24-year run with the Catalan giants.The Spanis(...)

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Atletico Madrid during their Spanish first division soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium. Photo: Andrea Comas/Reuters

A year after Atletico Madrid went to Barcelona and won the league title, Barcelona went to Atletico Madrid and won it back. As the final whistle went(...)

Pep Guardiola speaks to Lionel Messi at half-time during the Champions League semi-final at the Allianz Arena. Photo: Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

“Raus mit applaus!” was the headline in the German tabloid Abendzeitung after Bayern Munich’s energetic but ultimately rather meek and bloodless exit (...)