NEW world darts champion Rob Cross admits he is on "cloud nine" after his life-changing victory over 16-time winner Phil Taylor in the PDC World Championship final at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor was hoping to retire with a 17th world title but 27-year-old Cross, who was not even born when Taylor won his first crown in 1990, had other ideas as he produced a stunning performance to claim a 7-2 victory.

He said: "I'm on cloud nine really. It's surreal and it's not settled in yet. It was tough to take everything in last night (Monday)."

When asked if taking the title had changed his life, the former electrician – without a tour card this time last year – added: "Definitely. Darts, even before the World Championship, had already changed my life.

"I couldn't have expected for the way my year's gone but it has changed my life, without a doubt – especially last night – and apparently I'm going to be a very busy boy."

Cross went into the contest full of confidence after seeing off world No 1 Michael van Gerwen in the last four and managed to maintain his focus throughout as Taylor bowed out of the sport.

The new champion said: "Phil's walk-on was emotional. I never really got dragged into that. I still stayed focused and knew what I had to do.

"With the crowd, I expected it to be a little bit more hostile towards me, but where I managed to get in front in the game, I think I quietened them down and they never played as much of a part as they did in the Van Gerwen game.

"To win that game (against Van Gerwen) was the confidence boost that I needed to get to the final and I think that set me up nicely."

Cross averaged a remarkable 107.67, hit 11 maximums and had a checkout percentage of 60 en route to collecting a cheque of £400,000.

He said: "Someone was saying, it was third-highest they've had in the final in the world. You're never thinking about your averages when you're playing but I knew I was playing well. My finishing was very good and I was finishing amazingly at times."

Taylor was criticised by some for his demeanour in the final, which included him allegedly flipping his middle finger after winning the fourth set, but Cross had nothing but admiration for the 57-year-old and for what he has done for the sport.

"He's phenomenal and I'd like to wish him a very happy retirement and whatever he chooses to do, I hope he enjoys it," said Cross.

"He's a great guy. I don't believe you'll ever see another sportsman dominate their sport as much as he's done and to that he's the greatest.

"Without Phil, the money probably wouldn't be in it, the crowds that we play in front of. You've got to be grateful for that. You'll never get another living legend like that – I believe that."

Taylor, having won over £7million in prize money and more than 200 career titles, admitted he was retiring from darts at the right time and believes now is the time for the youngsters to take over the sport.

He said: "It has been marvellous. I have had a fantastic career.

"The youngsters coming through now are fantastic. They are dedicated, young, they are fit and I cannot compete any more.

"He (Cross) was like me 25 years ago. He was good, he was relentless and doesn't stop putting you under pressure. That is what I used to be. He is a lot like myself, trust me.

"He is dedicated, he has listened and learned and some of the players next year have got a big problem. I don't think the money will make a scrap of difference, it is about winning and that is like me.

"You have a little animal on your hands. I quite like him. He has that grit in his teeth."