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The DailySoccerDigest
December 4, 2018 
Quote of the day – "It's a different situation to last year because I'm playing less. If I need to leave because of a lack of minutes I will." - On-loan James Rodriguez has said he could be ready to leave Bayern Munich in search of more regular game time.
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Modric wins Ballon d'Or, Messi finishes in 5th

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has ended the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi stranglehold on the Ballon d'Or. Modric, who led Real to their third consecutive Champions League and reached the World Cup final with Croatia this summer, capped off a memorable 2018 by winning European football's oldest individual prize in a ceremony on Monday. "As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies," said Modric, who received the award from presenter and former France forward David Ginola during a ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris. "The Ballon d'Or was more than just a dream for me and it is really an honor and a privilege to hold this trophy." Modric, 33, finished ahead of 2017 winner Ronaldo of Juventus and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann for the prize, leaving Messi, who was fifth, outside the top three for the first time since 2006. Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe finished fourth to round out the top five. Brazil star Neymar, who helped PSG to a domestic Treble last season, finished a distant 12th. Modric was fifth in Ballon d'Or polling last year. The former Tottenham man is the first Croatian player to ever win the award. No player other than Ronaldo and Messi had claimed a Ballon d'Or since 2008, with both players winning five apiece over the past decade... Other honourees on the night included Mbappe, who took home the first-ever Raymond Kopa Trophy given to the top under-21 player. The 19-year-old became the second-youngest to ever score in a World Cup final as he helped France to their second title this summer. Lyon's Ada Hegerberg became the first recipient of the Women's Ballon d'Or award. Hegerberg is a three-time Women's Champions League winner with the French side and scored a tournament-record 15 times last season. (ESPNFC)
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FA Cup: Liverpool draw Wolves, Chelsea play Nottingham Forrest

Liverpool were drawn away to Wolverhampton Wanderers in one of two all-English Premier League matchups in the draw for the third round of the FA Cup on Monday. Bournemouth and Brighton were also paired in the draw held at the Stamford Bridge home of defending champions Chelsea. The holders will begin the defense of the trophy on Jan. 5 with a home match against second-tier Nottingham Forest, who eliminated Arsenal at this stage last season. Premier League leaders Manchester City will also face second-tier opposition in Rotherham as do Manchester United, who are at home to Reading. Arsenal received an away draw against either third-tier Blackpool or non-league team Solihull, while Championship leaders Norwich City will face League One pacesetters Portsmouth. Woking, one of two non-league sides guaranteed to be in the third round, will host Premier League team Watford. The other is Barnet, who are away to Sheffield United. The matches will be played between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7. (ESPNFC)

Premier League: Mark Hughes sacked by Southampton 

Southampton have confirmed that they have parted company with manager Mark Hughes with former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuttl the favorite to replace him. Hughes, who signed a three-year contract in May, won just five of his 27 games in charge at St. Mary's and leaves with the club 18th in the Premier League following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester United. Assistant manager Mark Bowen and coach Eddie Niedzwiecki have also left the club, while Kelvin Davis will take charge of Wednesday's game at Tottenham. Southampton said in a statement the search for Hughes' replacement is already underway. The former Stoke and Manchester City boss helped guide Southampton to Premier League survival last season after joining in March on a short-term deal, before extending that at the end of the campaign... Hughes becomes the second Premier League manager to be sacked this season, after Fulham replaced Slavisa Jokanovic with Claudio Ranieri in November. (ESPNFC)

Wednesday morning transfer talk

Source: ESPNFC
  • Liverpool have been linked with Napoli player Piotr Zielinski for some time, but the Reds look set to miss out on their transfer target, if Il Mattino are to be believed. They believe the 24-year-old midfielder wants to sign a new contract with the Serie A club, and Napoli too are said to be keen on the Poland international remaining, although there is still hope for Liverpool and other interested clubs.
  • Arsenal, Tottenham and Southamgpton have joined Everton in having interest in Red Bull Salzburg's 19-year-old Austrian attacker Hannes Wolf, according to the Mirror.
  • Manchester City starlet Brahim Diaz has agreed a £60,000-a-week deal with Real Madrid, who he could join for free in the summer, the Sunreports. Aware that they will lose the 19-year-old for nothing at the end of the season, the Premier League champions are preparing to do business and recoup some money from the Spain U21 international.
  • With minutes hard to come by at Chelsea this term, Andreas Christensen is said to be looking for pastures new come January. Enter AC Milan and Napoli, two clubs Calciomercato credits with interest in the Denmark international. The report states that Napoli could make the 22-year-old's exit worth Chile's while, reporting that the Italian club would be willing to release 24-year-old full-back Elseid Hysaj -- reportedly wanted by Maurizio Sarri in the summer -- in a swap deal.
  • Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed a new long-term extension to his Chelsea contract that commits him to the club until at least June 2022, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC. Read the full story.

Today's top matches (All times EST)

  • Premier League: Bournemouth vs Huddersfield 2:45pm on NBC Sports Gold
  • Premier League: Brighton vs Crystal Palace 2:45pm on NBC Sports Gold
  • Premier League: West Ham vs Cardiff City 2:45pm on NBC Sports Gold
  • Premier League: Watford vs Manchester City 3pm on NBCSN
  • Ligue 1: Amiens SC vs Monaco 1pm on beIN Sports
  • Copa del Rey: Espanyol vs Cádiz 3:30pm on beIN Sports

DSD Power Couple of the Day

Watford defender Francisco 'Kiko' Femenía Far and girlfriend Elena Ortiz

Highlights to kick off your day

Updated tables from around the globe

  • England: Premier League - Table
  • Spain: La Liga - Table
  • Italy: Serie A - Table
  • Germany: Bundesliga - Table
  • France: Ligue 1 - Table
  • USA: MLS - Table
  • USA: USL - Table
  • USA - NWSL - Table
  • Portugal - Portuguese Liga - Table
  • Scotland - Scottish Premiership - Table
  • Mexico - Liga MX - Table
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