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Kosta Barbarouses has returned for a third stint with the Wellington Phoenix and has his eyes on his fifth title. Kosta Barbarouses was barely given a chance during his first stint at the Wellington Phoenix from 2008 to 2010. His second ended prematurely, with an early exit agreed in 2017, halfway through a two-year deal. The All Whites forward has now returned for a third, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal that will keep him at the club past his 34th birthday.

A week on from being sent off as the national men’s football team lost their World Cup playoff against Costa Rica in Qatar, Barbarouses was still hurting as he discussed his future at club level. But there was a steady determination about him as he laid clear his plans to move on from that decision, which he disagreed with, and the result, which left “a bitter taste”. With four A-League Men titles under his belt at Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, and Sydney FC, Barbarouses said he was now looking to add a fifth with the Phoenix, his hometown club.

When Barbarouses left the Phoenix the first time, he had a breakout season at the Roar under famed Australian coach Ange Postecoglou as they won the 2010-11 title. A brief period overseas, in Russia and Greece, followed, before he returned to Australia with the Victory and tasted success again in 2014-15. Another title followed in Melbourne in 2017-18, after his brief return to Wellington, with his most recent success coming in 2019-20 with Sydney.

With 255 A-League appearances to his name – as well as 52 caps for the All Whites – Barbarouses will be one of the most experienced and successful players the Phoenix have ever had on their books, and he’s setting the bar high. The Phoenix have made it to the top six finals series in three of the last four seasons only to exit in the first round each time and Barbarouses has his sights set on going further.