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Marco Rojas returns to Wellington Phoenix

Marco Rojas Wellington Phoenix football
Remember Marco Rojas in 2010 for the Wellington Phoenix? He's back again as a 32-year-old with plenty of world experience. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Marco Rojas is returning to the Wellington Phoenix, the club which launched his professional football career.


The All Whites winger, who won the Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League’s best player in 2013, has signed with the Wellington Phoenix for the 2024-25 season.


The Phoenix signed Rojas to his first pro contract in 2009 after he received a Yellow Fever scholarship to train with the first team.


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He went on to play 21 A-League matches for the Nix before heading to Melbourne in 2011 for the first of three successful spells at the Victory.


Rojas, 32, is looking forward to rekindling his relationship with the club’s fans after 13 years away.


“I recognise the importance they played in the scholarship that first got me going as a professional footballer,” he said.


“My family and I still talk about the Yellow Fever and the financial commitment they made, the ‘Retro Ricki’ car we had for the week or two in Wellington and the trip to Queenstown to play Melbourne.


“If it wasn’t for the scholarship I would have had a very different path to professional football.


“I’m very grateful for the start the Yellow Fever gave me and even though I left I hope they can still see it as a special thing that I’m coming back.”


Marco Rojas scored 39 goals in 119 A-League matches for Melbourne Victory and also played at top tier clubs in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Chile before joining Brisbane Roar for the second half of last season.


Rojas believes he can achieve something special in Wellington under head coach Giancarlo Italiano.


“I’d like to believe so. I hope so. It’s beautiful having hope and that belief.


“I’m able to have that hope and belief because of what I’ve seen from the outside with the Phoenix under Chiefy. From the outside in it looks like a great place to be.


“I also got to go to Wellington to talk to Chiefy and spend some time with him. I recognise what a great person he is and I’m very hopeful that we can win together.


“I certainly believe it and I’ll be doing everything I can to make it happen.”


And he feels he’s still got a lot to offer the Nix both on and off the field.


“There have been a few seasons in the A-League where I’ve been able to do really well and that shows what I might be able to do on the pitch.


“And off it I’ve got the experience of playing in Chile and Europe so, should the young boys want some advice, they can learn from me and add a little bit extra to their games which can hopefully take them one step further than last season.”


Giancarlo Italiano believes Marco Rojas can recapture his best form at the Phoenix.


“I’m really excited because of the amount of talent Marco has,” Italiano said. “My goal is I want to get him close to where he was in the 2016-17 A-League season, which I think was his best season, and I think we can do that here.


“We’re the right club for him to thrive. We’re going to give him the freedom to play and express himself.


“If we can get a fit Marco firing he’s going to help the team’s progression in the way we play, and I think we can definitely be better stylistically than we were last season.”


Marco Rojas will wear the no. 21 shirt for the Phoenix, which he wore during his first stint at the club.

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