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Phoenix sign All Whites keeper

4:42 AM IST 06/06/19
Stefan Marinovic
Wellington have made their first signing of the off-season

New Zealand international shot-stopper Stefan Marinovic has signed a two-year deal with Wellington Phoenix.

The 27-year-old, who was most recently playing for English side Bristol City in the Championship, has made 24 appearances for the All Whites after making his debut in 2015.

Having begun his career with Auckland City before stints in Germany, Canada and England, Marinovic is happy to be back in New Zealand. 

"I’ve always wanted to return back to New Zealand to play at some point, whether that was now or in a couple of years, it didn’t really matter, but it’s great that this opportunity has come around now," Marinovic said.

"My family, especially my dad is really happy that I’m coming home as I’ve been away for ten years so the opportunity to play back on home soil and see my family more often gives me more of a drive.

"The club has had an extremely impressive campaign and I’m looking forward to being a part of the group that hopes to surpass that next season."

The Phoenix have big shoes to fill in goal with star foreign import Filip Kurto departing the club at season's end to join Western United. 

Marinovic is new Wellington coach Ufuk Talay's first signing since arriving at the club and he's cleary happy with his acquisition.

"I’m delighted to have signed a number one goalkeeper that brings a lot of experience into the team," Talay said. 

"For us, he’ll be an exceptional leader inside the box and a great shot stopper as part of our backline.

"To have Stefan’s international pedigree will further add to our number of talented homegrown players within the club."