Wellington Phoenix have confirmed the signing of Serbian attacking midfielder Matija Ljujić until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season.
Ljujić, 24, has played five seasons in the Serbian top two divisions before switching to Lithuanian champions Zalgiris where he made his Champions League debut this season.
Coach Darije Kalezić said Ljujić will be a welcome addition to the Phoenix squad.
“He’s a pro-active player, he has good quality and a strong winning mentality – he won the championship in Lithuania and produced the most assists in the team. I am confident he will add greatly to our playing group.”
“Matija is the product of the best youth academy in Serbia [Partizan Belgrade], one of the best in Europe, so he comes with great technical skill and basis, he will contribute strongly with final passes to create goals.”
For Ljujić, the chance to join Phoenix was a welcome opportunity to further develop himself as a player.
“I am thankful for the chance to come to Wellington, I heard a lot of good things about the club, the coach and the players. I have been here two days but already the players accept me very well.”
“While I was waiting [for a visa] in Serbia I watched some games of Phoenix – this is a good team with good promise, perhaps some moments of concentration. I want to do my best to help the club.”
“Andrija and I played together [at Zalgiris] we have good connection off the pitch, but also on it – I gave him some assists, he gave me some assists – hopefully we can repeat this at Wellington.”
Ljujić has arrived in Wellington and will go into the matchday squad for the game against Melbourne Victory tomorrow night at Westpac Stadium.