The father of All Whites striker Kosta Barbarouses says his son has the confidence and work ethic to make a success of his left-field move to an obscure first division Russian club.
The 21-year-old Wellingtonian was selected in the A-League's team of the year after a breakthrough 2010-11 season with champions Brisbane Roar and, after trialling with several European clubs, has signed with Alania Vladikavkaz for three years for an undisclosed fee.
Alania are on track for promotion to the Russian Premier League as co-leaders of the first division and are also involved in the Europa League.
Barbarouses, who played 21 games for the Wellington Phoenix before moving to the Roar, has long held ambitions of playing in the top European leagues.
"It was a good offer to be honest and for Kosta to move there, it's good exposure for him in Europe as well," Kosta's father Nick Barbarouses said.
"From what I know, that club has been one of the best three football clubs to watch in Russia over the years and I think they've got a very good setup as well. And they are also in the Europa Cup so he has to make the move. Other clubs chased him as well but those guys were very serious and they put an offer on the table."
Barbarouses' father said the move was based on both footballing and financial motives and was unfazed at the potential for culture shock.
"Kosta is a very confident kid and he's working hard. When he was 14 he told me he was going to be a professional player and he's doing it. I believe he can do it. He's very excited and it's good because they're going to the Europa League as well."
Barbarouses is in Russia and could not be contacted but he told the club's website that he wanted to help Alania win promotion to the Premier League.
"To become a big player you need to go to Europe, to Russia. I have a chance to prove my worth as a footballer at a higher level and help the team in its objectives. I note that the club is like one big family, they have greeted me warmly and cheerfully."
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou said Barbarouses' exit was a blow.
"I've obviously known about this possibility for a little while now, so we've already got some things in place to find a replacement."
- The Dominion Post
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