So much has been said and written about Neymar Jr, the 22-year-old from Santos being billed as the next Pele – particularly since his controversial move to Barcelona, it's difficult not to head into an interview with preconceptions.
Big money move and below-par form aside, he's one of the most photographed footballers of the moment, he was named the most marketable footballer on the planet by Sportspro and he has the haircut and model girlfriend to boot.
I'm pleased to say I'm not so long in the tooth that I don't get excited by sitting down to interview star footballers like Neymar. But there can be a certain amount of "take a deep breath, here it goes" ahead of sitting down with some of the current generation.
With the out-of-touch, overpaid, media-trained-within-an-inch-of-their-lives types, it can be a challenge. FULL POST
The Chinese calendar says it's the year of the horse. Some commentators were convinced it was going to be the year of the prancing horse when Kimi Raikkonen joined Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
But they were wrong, 2014 is the year of Mercedes.
After a clean sweep of wins for the Silver Arrows in the first three races of the season, next up it's the Chinese Grand Prix.
The venue, the Shanghai International Circuit, is known as something of an engineering marvel - built on 40,000 concrete pillars to stop it sinking into the marshland.
But the circuit won't be the only spectacular feat of engineering on display this weekend. FULL POST
Sitting in block 225 of the South Stand at Old Trafford last Tuesday, just to the right of the bench and beneath the press box, my eyes were drawn to the banner that proudly hangs on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.
It reads “The Impossible Dream, Made Possible”. It’s a banner paying tribute to the former Manchester United manager and the ridiculous number of trophies he helped bring to the club - most notably 13 English Premier League titles and two European Champions League triumphs.
But seeing that banner while watching the post-Ferguson United take on the might of European champions Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarterfinal first leg – it made me chuckle. FULL POST
In the last few weeks we've had suicide bombers in Volgograd killing more than 34 people, and Islamic militants promising a "present" to organizers and visitors to Sochi in February.
At least five Olympic committees have received letters in Russian making “a terrorist threat” before the Winter Games, and security forces are hunting a woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing who is believed to already be in Sochi.
For any journalist covering a major event like this, the experience should be about reporting mind-boggling feats of skill and endurance. But Sochi feels different and I’m sure many – be they athletes or journalists – will travel to the Black Sea resort with feelings of trepidation. FULL POST
From the heights of achievement to the despair of fallen idols, it has been a game of two halves for sport in 2013.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Serena Williams led the way on the tennis court, but sports fans saw heroes such as Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius taint their considerable legacies beyond redemption.
Then there was a farewell to one of the giants of football, Alex Ferguson, who left behind a wealth of memories not just for supporters of his club Manchester United but for the beautiful game as a whole - which has suffered through controversies over corruption and future World Cups.
So what was your top sporting story of 2013? CNN's World Sport anchors share their leading selections below, and we'd like to hear your opinions too. FULL POST
Editor's note: CNN's The Circuit will screen a half-hour special on Sebastian Vettel at 1400 and 2130 Saturday Dec 7, 1030 Sunday Dec 8 and 0430 Monday Dec 9 (all times GMT).
I admit it, I was wrong.
I was one of those who didn’t like Sebastian Vettel, hadn’t really warmed to him. Yes, I admired his achievements - but the finger-pointing rankled, his standoffish approach to the media frustrated, and then of course there was the “Multi 21” incident when the German ignored team orders to overtake Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
I viewed it as arrogance.
Maybe the success had gone to his head? I was most definitely camped in the Webber side of the Red Bull garage. But after a few weeks on the trail of the four-time Formula One world champion for this weekend's Circuit special, I’ve changed my tune.