Kosta Barbarouses will depart Melbourne Victory after a trophy-laden three seasons to return to his first A-League club, Wellington Phoenix.
The New Zealand international made his A-League debut with the Phoenix back in 2007 and will return to where it all started in a major coup for the Wellington-based side.
Victory confirmed Barbarouses’ departure on Tuesday as head coach Kevin Muscat expressed his disappointment at losing one of his most reliable players.
“Naturally, we’re disappointed to lose a player like Kosta, who has been an important member of our team for the last three seasons,” Muscat.
“We were determined to keep him, but ultimately he believes this is the best decision for him.
“We understand the opportunity to move back home to be close to his family was a strong factor in his decision.
“We would like to thank Kosta for his contribution to Melbourne Victory and wish him all the best for the future.”
Barbarouses leaves the club having been a part of their treble-winning side which won the A-League premiership, championship and FFA Cup in 2015 and he said it was not an easy decision to make.
“This was a very tough decision for me because I have loved my time at Melbourne Victory over the last three seasons,” Barbarouses said.
“In the end, the opportunity to move back home to live close to my family was too hard to pass up.
“It has been an honour playing in front of the Melbourne Victory members and fans and I will leave with a heavy heart because their support for me has been unbelievable.
“I would like to thank [Socceroos coach and former Victory coach] Ange Postecoglou, Kevin Muscat, all the coaches and my team-mates for giving me the chance to play for Victory, and I will give everything I have for the rest of the season to try and bring more silverware to the club.”
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