Andrew Durante is leaving Phoenix after more than a decade in Wellington.
Wellington Phoenix was shaken by the departure of captain Andrew Durante.
Phoenix legend confirmed their departure on Tuesday ahead of an impending move to the new A League club, Western United, where they will join former coach Mark Rudan in what will likely be his last season before retiring .
"I represented Wellington Phoenix in the best way I knew and would like to think that I made a positive contribution to the growth of football in this country," Durante said in an emotional farewell.
"I have tried to be the best possible model for all aspiring footballers in this country and if I have managed to help inspire only a few of these kids to pursue their football dream, then that does not bring me any more joy.
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"But the time has come for me to put myself and my family first and get out of my comfort zone. I have the opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment, to take on a new adventure with my wife and children, closer to us family."
Already recovering from the defeats of strikers Roy Krishna and David Williams, Confirmation of Durante's exit is a seismic blow to the Phoenix, which is preparing for a major rebuild under the new coach Ufuk Talay, but now faces the impossible task of replace a veteran who has given his heart and soul to the club for more than a decade.
The Phoenix was aware that Rudan's Western United had made an offer for its inspirational leader, which they were willing to recruit as their founding captain, and to counterbalance this featured a dual player management role in the hope of keeping the 37 -year-old man involved in the club posting his playing career.
Yet, Thing Understood During he decided to follow Rudan and notified Phoenix of his decision earlier this week.
He is currently on vacation with his family in Bali.
"For me, life is to take on new challenges, to test yourself in places that can make you uncomfortable, try new things and grow as a person. Not everyone will agree, not everyone will see my opinion on things, but okay , this is football and it is life.
"I sincerely wish the club and its loyal fans are the best in the future. I've made friends for a long time here and that's what I'll miss most, the people of this country are some of the best people you'll ever meet."
During joined the Phoenix of the Newcastle Jets after winning the title of the A-League in 2008 and the defender cemented its legendary status throughout its longevity. His contribution to the club over the past decade has been huge, riding every high and low.
His 313 appearances are more than any A-League player and that invaluable experience will be very felt next season, in what is the end of the era for one of the club's greatest servants.
"My connection to this club and this country will always be there. Our three daughters were born here in Wellington, we made our home and it will always be a place close to our hearts.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you for accepting me as one of yours, thank you for accepting my family as one of yours. It's like we're leaving home, but we're excited about the new challenge we're facing. ".
After sitting on the Socceroos bench, Durante also represented his adopted country on the international scene, making 24 appearances for the All Whites between 2013-2017 – an achievement he was incredibly proud of.
"I never thought that, after 11 years, I would still be captaining the team, having played more than 270 matches for the club.
"In addition, never in a million years would I have thought that I would represent the national team of New Zealand on 24 occasions, even captaining New Zealand on two occasions, an honor that I am extremely privileged to have experience."
During will be the third player of Phoenix to accompany Rudan to the newcomers of Western United, where he will meet with goalkeeper Filip Kurto and midfielder Max Burgess.