All Whites’ Kosta Barbarouses rejects suitors to sign new deal with Phoenix

posted in: A-League (Men), All Whites, News

New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses has signed a new deal to stay with the Wellington Phoenix for the next men’s A-League season, with an option for another season.

The club says Barbarouses (34) has resisted overtures from rival A-League clubs and re-signed with his hometown club.

Barbarouses is fresh off the second most prolific season of his decorated career, leading the Nix’s record-breaking campaign with 13 goals and five assists.

The All Whites forward is now fourth on the all-time list of A-League men’s goal scorers after becoming just the eighth player to reach the 300-game milestone.

“It’s a season to be proud of individually and as a team,” Barbarouses said.

“Obviously we had our best ever year as a club and it’s probably no surprise after the season we had there was a fair bit of interest in me.

“I weighed up everything and decided Wellington is by far the best place for me to be.

“I’ve still got big aspirations to do something special here and to play at a good level heading into the 2026 World Cup. That’s a big goal for me.

“Wellington’s home as well so it was a very easy decision and I’m very happy to extend and stay on.”

Kosta Barbarouses will look for more goals next season. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

Barbarouses also feels he has unfinished business with the Phoenix.

“I’m really proud of what we achieved as a club this year. We were millimetres, seconds, minutes away from a grand final and we want to keep building on that.

“I think it’s important we’ve kept a big core of the squad together already, which is great stability wise.

“I’m sure Chiefy and the staff would have learnt from this year and want to go above and beyond and better as well.

“It’s a great place to be at the moment and there are so many positives to take out of this season going into next season.”

And the four-time A-League champion believes he can keep performing at a high level.

“As a long as I keep feeling good I obviously want to be a mentor for the young ones and I want to be one of the best performing players in the league as well.

“I don’t want to kid myself when I don’t think I’m there and probably wouldn’t keep playing if I didn’t.

“I think I’ve still got so much to offer and this season’s obviously proven that so I’m not going to put a limit on myself.”

Giancarlo Italiano: “Age is not something I’ve taken into consideration. For me, it’s about his output.”

Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano is thrilled to have kept hold of Kosta Barbarouses for at least one more season.

“It’s good for the group in general and good for team chemistry,” Italiano said.

“Kosta really suits the way we play. We build towards him. You saw this season when he became the central nine, we had a really different dynamic and were really exciting to watch.

“On the park his numbers do all the talking, but what he does off the pitch when it comes to leadership and how he keeps a good vibe in the team, is also very, very important for us.

“He brings a lot of cohesion in the changing room. A lot of the young boys lean on him for advice and he’s a calming influence.

“Kosta also looks after himself quite well and shows the young boys what it’s like to be a good professional.”

And Italiano believes Barbarouses can keep performing in the A-League, despite the competition trending towards younger players.

“Age is not something I’ve taken into consideration. For me it’s about his output.

“He’s outperformed so many young guys this season it’s beyond what anyone else thought he could do at that age.

“It’s more about how fresh he is in the mind and how he applies himself.

“One more year here with a possibility of another year will get him to the 2026 World Cup. His goal is to get in that squad, and we want to support him to get there.”

Giancarlo Italiano currently has 18 players contracted for the 2024-25 A-League season, with discussions continuing with other off-contract players.

Media briefing

Head coach Giancarlo Italiano and Kosta Barbarouses speak to the media after agreeing the new contract.


This story is published with the help of the Wellington Phoenix.

Visit the Phoenix Kit Hub

Here’s where you can buy your Wellington Phoenix apparel:

More football stories