Bertos sticking with Phoenix

The Wellington Phoenix have completed a significant piece of business in re-signing homegrown star Leo Bertos for another three Hyundai A-League seasons.

The Wellington Phoenix have completed a significant piece of business in re-signing homegrown star Leo Bertos for another three Hyundai A-League seasons.

Since the A-League's inception in 2005, the 27-year-old New Zealand international has been one of its stand-out performers in the midfield for both the Perth Glory and the Phoenix for the past two seasons.

Born and bred in Wellington, Bertos has represented the club 24 times and become a major threat on the flanks with his pinpoint crosses and fleet of foot on attack.

He has scored four goals in Phoenix colours and leads the A-League in 2009/10 for goal assists.

"Leo-s had a fantastic season for us so far and we believed it was imperative that we re-signed him and that we did it quickly before all the other clubs came chasing him," Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said.

"We identified him some time ago as a priority and he was always keen to stay here in Wellington. Leo will continue to be a significant core player around whom we can build an extremely competitive team in the coming seasons.

"Leo-s the sort of player fans love to watch because he-s always involved, he takes opposition players on and he creates chances."

Securing Bertos' signature long-term is a significant coup for the Phoenix, who lost former fan favourite Shane Smeltz to Gold Coast United when only offering the goal-scoring whiz a one-year deal before the 2008/09 season.

Bertos, who is on the Gold Coast in preparation for Friday's clash with Smeltz and his new team-mates, is thrilled to be staying in Wellington as the club continues to chase the first finals qualification of its short history.

"This is my home town, my family-s here and so are my friends," Bertos said. "But it-s also a great move for me career-wise.

"The club has been excellent from day one and is going from strength to strength.

"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity to keep playing a part on the field as a Phoenix player and off it as someone who can contribute to the amazing developing the game in New Zealand."

Further adding to Bertos' positive spirit is the fact that he and five other Phoenix team-mates will fly out at the end of the week for the All Whites' quest to qualify for the World Cup.

New Zealand, whose one and only World Cup appearance came in 1982, comes up against Bahrain in the first leg of a home-and-away qualifier in Manama on October 10.

"That-s another great thing about having a professional club here in Wellington - as well as providing more opportunities for Australian players in the growing competition, as an All Whites group it-s allowed us to play top-level football together," Bertos said.

"I-m not sure we-d have got as close to qualifying for the World Cup as we have without the club in Wellington and I-m looking forward to continuing my career here."