'It makes it easier for the next ones' - Mark Rudan hopeful Steven Taylor's signing leads to more key Phoenix deals

Wellington Phoenix coach Mark Rudan believes the signature of one-time Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor will create a snowball effect for the A-League club.

A veteran of 194 English Premier League appearances, Taylor brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the Phoenix.

The 32-year-old is Rudan's first player-signing since being unveiled as coach six weeks ago, following through with a promise to set his sights high with player recruitment.

He expects Taylor's signature will make the club instantly more attractive to other high-profile players.

"It makes it easier for the next ones," Rudan said on Tuesday.

"Steven is a significant signing for the football club in what we are trying to create.

"We take our time with our signings, especially the visa spots. We want good leaders and we want to improve the level of professionalism at this club."

A former England under-21 captain, Taylor never played at senior level for his country. However, he did make one appearance for England B.

He enjoyed a career with Newcastle United from 2003-2016, with all but one of them being in the EPL where he forged a reputation as an industrious and reliable defender.

Taylor had brief stints with Major League Soccer club Portland Timbers and English Championship club Ipswich Town before under-taking a 50-match season with third-tier English outfit Peterborough United.

A chat with Newcastle Jets' former English striker Michael Bridges convinced him the Phoenix, and the A-League, were an ideal destination.

"It's just got better and better, the quality of players out here now," Taylor said.

"It's going to be difficult for the likes of myself because there are attackers of high quality."

The central defender enjoyed his experience in New Zealand four years ago when Newcastle Utd played pre-season matches in Dunedin (Sydney FC) and in front of a near-full house in Wellington (Phoenix).

"Playing against the Phoenix in 2014 was a big thing. It was a great game for us, we should have actually got beat in that game."

Taylor will begin training this week with his debut likely to be against Bentleigh Greens in their first round FFA Cup match in Melbourne next month.


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Watch: Championship side Derby stun United, knock EPL giants out of League Cup

The coaching apprentice got the better of his former master as Frank Lampard's Derby knocked Jose Mourinho's Manchester United of the League Cup.

In a shootout after the game ended 2-2, the teams scored 15 consecutive penalties before United defender Phil Jones' effort was saved at Old Trafford this morning.

The 8-7 shootout loss is another setback for Mourinho, with United already eight points behind leader Liverpool after six games in the Premier League.

But it is a major scalp for Lampard, who is in his first season as a coach after spending most of his playing career at Chelsea, where Mourinho had two spells as manager.

United had led through Juan Mata's third-minute strike that completed a flowing move. But Harry Wilson equalized with a free kick in the 59th and United's problems deepened when goalkeeper Romero was sent off in the 67th for handling outside the box.

Derby made the extra man count when Jack Marriott headed home from close range, a goal that was confirmed by a VAR review in the 85th. Marouane Fellaini came to United's rescue in the fifth minute of stoppage time with an equalizer.

But the shootout failure saw United eliminated from the third round of English football's second-tier knockout competition for the first time in 11 years.

The only other Premier League side beaten by lower-league opposition was Burnley which lost 2-1 to third-tier side Burton.

But holder Manchester City easily beat another third-tier side, Oxford, with goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden sealing a 3-0 win.

The Rams scored a stunning goal before keeping their cool in a shootout to dispose of Manchester United. Source: SKY


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Croatia captain Luka Modric claims FIFA Player of the Year award

Luka Modric has broken a decade of award dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after being crowned world footballer of the year by FIFA, while Marta won the women's award for a sixth time.

Modric was voted FIFA's best player in the 2017-18 season after winning the Champions League for a fourth time in five seasons with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to its first World Cup final where it lost to France.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world soccer's main individual award from FIFA in various guises since 2008, both winning five titles each.

Messi didn't make the three-man shortlist and skipped the trip to London. Ronaldo was shortlisted but also didn't turn up at the ceremony to be dethroned in person by his former Real Madrid teammate. Egypt forward Mohamed Salah also made the top three for the first time.

Luka Modric wins the World Cup golden ball award
Luka Modric wins the World Cup golden ball award Source: Associated Press


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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah wins FIFA goal of the year award

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah's strike in last season's Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield has won the FIFA Puskas Award for the goal of the season.

Ten goals were shortlisted for the award, with many pundits predicting a win for Gareth Bale's acrobatic volley in the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Liverpool.

But the Egyptian star's effort, which saw him spin past two Everton players before curling a left-foot shot into the far corner, gained 38 per cent of the more than 500,000 votes cast.

The award, which is named after Hungary and Real Madrid great Ferenc Puskas, was the first announced at the Best FIFA Football Awards in London. Salah, 26, has also been shortlisted for men's player of the year.

He told the audience at the Royal Festival Hall that he hoped to win another prize later in the evening.

France's World Cup-winning boss Didier Deschamps was named men's coach of the year.

The 49-year-old was up against Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, whose side lost to France in the final in Russia this summer, and Zinedine Zidane, who led Real Madrid to a third straight Champions League win.

Deschamps' win was no surprise, given the focus on Russia 2018, and he used his acceptance speech to warmly thanks his backroom staff and players.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the goalkeeper of the year prize, beating Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur and World Cup-winning France.

All three enjoyed great World Cup campaigns, with Courtois helping Belgium to a third-place finish.

Now with Real Madrid, the 26-year-old Courtois joked before his award was announced that FIFA should also hand out a save-of-the-year prize.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah Source: Associated Press


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Watch: Brazil star Neymar gifts jersey to crying fan in PSG win over Rennes

Neymar was whistled off the field today but showed he held no grudge against Rennes fans by giving his shirt to a young boy who ran across the pitch to hug the Brazil star.

With PSG leading 3-1 in the French league game, Neymar slowly walked back to the Paris Saint-Germain bench in the 90th minute at Rennes — as coach Thomas Tuchel made his final substitution — when the boy escaped security and ran toward the striker.

The boy burst into tears when he reached Neymar and pointed at his shirt.

Neymar took the boy under his arm and walked back to the sidelines, gesturing toward security guards to indicate everything was okay.

Neymar then took off his shirt and gave it to the boy, who was taken away by stewards.

Neymar had a mostly anonymous performance before the incident, with a mediocre display in Brittany.

Five days after slumping to their first loss this season in a 3-2 Champions League defeat at Liverpool, PSG struggled in the first half but came from behind to win 3-1 and remain perfect in the French league with a sixth consecutive win.

PSG remains five points clear at the top.

Playing without the suspended Kylian Mbappe, the defending champions faced strong resistance from an inspired home side that defended well and destabilised PSG on the break.

PSG conceded early when Adrien Rabiot scored a clumsy own-goal. Tuchel's side managed to turn things around with goals from Angel Di Maria, Thomas Meunier and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Rennes played with three attacking players and applied early pressure on Gianluigi Buffon's goal.

Mbaye Niang and Ismaila Sarr tested the Italian 'keeper before Rabiot inadvertently sent the ball into Buffon's net from a corner after a header from Niang ricocheted off his shoulder in the 11th minute.

Rennes could not build on the momentum and started to play deeper as PSG took control of the match and leveled just before halftime with a low-shot from Julian Draxler's cut-back pass.

Edinson Cavani hit the post at the start of the second half and Meunier scored at the end of a swift counterattack with a right-footed shot.

Subsitute Choupo-Moting then celebrated his league debut with a goal in the 83rd from Meunier's pass.

Neymar won over his rivals after giving away his playing jersey to a young boy who stormed the field. Source: BT Sport


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