Phoenix star Marco Rojas 'still open to offers'

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2011
Marco Rojas
CHRIS SKELTON/The Dominion Post
OVER: Marcos Rojas' Wellington Phoenix career is over.

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Despite the Phoenix announcing on Sunday that star youngster Marco Rojas would be leaving Wellington and joining A-League rivals Melbourne Victory, he has not yet put pen to paper.

Rojas' father Rodi, who doubles as his son's agent, said yesterday that offers from several clubs, including one in South America, were still being considered.

"They [Victory] are the favourites at the moment but we're still going through each contract and just having a look," Rodi Rojas said.

Rodi said a move overseas was part of a bigger picture and was considered the best path for the 19-year-old midfielder to eventually fulfil his ambition to break into a big European club.

"I'm not saying he's going to go next year or the following year, he could be 24 before he is ready to go.

"What we're doing is making his dream hopefully come true by doing certain things.

"We're upsetting some people and that's understandable. But he's got to be loyal to himself, to where he wants to end up."

Rodi said his shy son had found it difficult dealing with the sudden media interest and fallout from disgruntled Wellington Phoenix fans.

"I just wish people wouldn't get so nasty with the things they write but that's the fans' rights.

"It has been hard, there have been things said and it hasn't been easy for him."

Rojas qualifies for both New Zealand and Chile through his father's blood and Rodi was vague when asked if Marco had made a decision on his international preference.

"There's a lot of people talking about him playing for Chile but plan A is he wants to be a professional football player at the highest level he possibly can."

Rojas remains contracted to the Phoenix until the end of the month and Rodi said their relationship with the club remained amicable and professional.

"I've been very honest with them."

Someone who knows exactly what Rojas is going through is fellow New Zealand young gun Kosta Barbarouses.

The 21-year-old forward left the Phoenix at the end of last season after struggling for game time and is now preparing to play in the A-League grand final after a standout campaign with Brisbane Roar. Asked if the Phoenix were doing enough to nurture young Kiwi talent, Barbarouses said coach Ricki Herbert was in a "tough spot".

"They're always looking for a good overseas striker or good overseas attacking players and I think they always seem to take priority over the local boys.

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"I think that might be where the problem is.

"Maybe a little bit more trust in the younger players might be needed."

Barbarouses said Rojas could expect a torrid reception from fans at Westpac Stadium if he returned as a Victory player.

"I got a pretty good reception when I came because I think they understood the reasoning behind my departure.

"Maybe they are a bit sour about Marco leaving because he started in the last 10 games.

"It will be tough because the crowd in Wellington is quite loud as well, so I'm sure he will hear a lot when he comes back there."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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