Signing news: Durante joins Western United
Wellington Phoenix talisman Andrew Durante has signed for Western United.
The 37-year-old centre back announced his exit from Wellington Phoenix last week and will join the Hyundai A-League newcomers in late June after spending time with his family.
“Joining a brand-new club is an exciting challenge for me. I’m looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and into a new environment where I believe I can add significant value," Durante said.
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“First and foremost, I’m keen to get out on the pitch and getting started with the team. The playing squad is looking really strong already. Given my experience, if the club sees value in having me assist the Football Department, then I’d be proud to help in any way I can.
“Already, the club’s vision to be successful has appealed to me, and ultimately, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to move closer to my family."
Durante joined Wellington in 2008 from Newcastle Jets and spent 11 seasons with the Kiwi club, becoming a naturalised citizen in May 2013 and playing 24 times for the national team, the All Whites.
In January, the 313-cap veteran became the first player in Hyundai A-League history to reach 300 appearances, and received a testimonial in March for his outstanding contribution across the Tasman.
It is understood that Phoenix offered Durante an expanded off-field role in order to keep him at the New Zealand capital.
However, the prospect of reuniting with former Phoenix boss Mark Rudan in Melbourne in the club’s inaugural season proved too good an opportunity to refuse.
Durante is the third Phoenix player – after Polish goalkeeper Filip Kurto and talented playmaker Max Burgess - snared by Rudan as the 43-year-old taskmaster plots Western United’s maiden campaign.