BARCELONA Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde paid tribute on Friday to Lionel Messi's "permanent competitiveness", after the five-times world player of the year dragged Argentina into next year's World Cup with a hat-trick against Ecuador last Tuesday.
Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia qualified for next year's World Cup on Tuesday after a dramatic last round of South American fixtures that also saw Peru clinch a playoff spot against New Zealand and Chile miss out completely. | Video
A magical Lionel Messi hat-trick carried Argentina to a 3-1 win over Ecuador on Tuesday and booked their place at next year's World Cup finals in Russia.
BUENOS AIRES Former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma said it had always been his goal to coach in his home country when he was confirmed on Tuesday as coach of the Jaguares Super Rugby franchise.
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador Argentina need a win in Ecuador on Tuesday to guarantee at least a playoff place for the World Cup finals but coach Jorge Sampaoli says his side fully deserve to be in Russia next year despite their underwhelming qualifying campaign.
BRASILIA/BUENOS AIRES The European Union farm products offer presented this week during talks in Brasília on a trade deal with the Mercosur bloc was disappointing, negotiators for Brazil and Argentina said on Friday.
LONDON The Alpine ski season is drawing near and Britain's top Olympic hope Dave Ryding will be heading indoors, far from any snowcapped mountains.
BUENOS AIRES Twice champions and 2014 runners-up Argentina were in serious danger of failing to reach the 2018 World Cup finals after being held to a 0-0 draw by Peru on Thursday.
MENDOZA, Argentina Argentina's Pumas will be looking to avoid ending the Rugby Championship without points while the Australian Wallabies will play for second place when the teams meet in the last match of the tournament on Saturday.
Australia coach Michael Cheika named an unchanged side on Thursday for the first time since he took charge in 2014 for Saturday's closing Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Mendoza.
LUXEMBOURG/LONDON European Union ministers told Britain on Tuesday it must make more concessions in talks over its departure from the bloc, offering little sign of a breakthrough for Prime Minister Theresa May at a summit later this week.