Phoenix lock-in Spanish midfielder for 2018/19

Wellington Phoenix have added some Spanish steel to their side with the signing of defensive midfielder Armando Sosa Pena.

The club confirmed the addition of the 29-year-old playmaker – known as Mandi – on Friday on a one-year deal; a day after signing former Sydney Olympic FC attacker Max Burgess.

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Pena, who played in the Spanish second division last season, has played more than 200 games across the second and third divisions in Spain, as well as a stint with Real Madrid’s Reserves.

"I felt like something new and I like New Zealand and what I have seen,” Pena said.

"Not only will I be living in a beautiful country but I will be playing in the A-League which I think will be a big challenge given the quality of the players here."

"Mark [coach Mark Rudan] believes in my ability and my style is perfect for how he wants to play.

"I have heard about the positive atmosphere that has been created within the club."

During his time at Real between 2010 and 2012, Pena played alongside the likes of current Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal, as well as Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata and Russian World Cup hero Denis Cheryshev.

The Santa Lucia-born midfielder is the second signing in as many days for the Phoenix after they secured Max Burgess on Thursday, while he takes the last import spot on their roster.

"I watched him when I was in Europe and he will complement our defensive structure in the middle of the park,” Rudan said.

"He is another player that will work extremely hard for the team and gives their all on the pitch so he will slot in perfectly.

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"He is not only a defensive rock but also possesses leadership qualities having captained teams he's played for."

Mandi began his senior career at Vecindario in the Canary Islands before moving on to Villareal B.

He played 23 games for his most-recent club Almeria last season before suffering a tear in his Achilles tendon in a match against Osasuna in February.

But after making a full recovery he began trialling with Phoenix last month and impressed enough to earn a deal.

Mark Rudan
Phoenix bbss Mark Rudan