Iraq international Ali Abbas joins Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix have signed former Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC star Ali Abbas for a return to the A-League.
The Iraq international's two-season deal completes the Phoenix's squad under new coach Darije Kalezic.
The 30-year-old Abbas already boasts 128 A-League games, having played three seasons with the Jets followed by four at Sydney FC before one-season with South Korean outfit Pohang Steelers.
Abbas, an Australian citizen, was pleased to put his disappointing Korean stint, where he barely played, behind him.
"After Korea there were many offers, a lot from home in Iraq, but I wanted to come back to the A-League," he said.
"Phoenix have many quality players, they've recruited well - I want to do something special this year."
Kalezic hailed the signing as a further sign of willingness of top-tier offshore talent to come to a new regime in Wellington.
"It hasn't always been possible in the past to attract top-quality Australian players to join us here -- that has changed," he said.
Other new signings include Australian defenders Scott Galloway and Daniel Mullen, midfielder Goran Paracki and forwards Andrija Kaludjerovic and Dario Vidosic.
Abbas joins as an injury replacement for versatile defender Louis Fenton, who will be given assistance by the Phoenix to find game time with another club. Fenton will then rejoin the Phoenix on a one-year deal from September 2018.
A technically sound player, Abbas played the first of his six internationals for Iraq at the 2007 Asian Cup and earned a recall last year in two World Cup qualifying games.
Phoenix assistant coach Rado Vidosic, who worked with Abbas at Sydney FC, is excited by what left-footed Abbas can offer down the left flank in a defensive or midfield role.
Full Wellington Phoenix squad:
Goalkeepers: Lewis Italiano, Oliver Sail
Defenders: Andrew Durante, Marco Rossi, Scott Galloway, Tom Doyle, Daniel Mullen, Ryan Lowry, Dylan Fox, Ali Abbas (injury replacement)
Midfielders: Gui Finkler, Michael McGlinchey, Goran Paracki, Matthew Ridenton, Alex Rufer, James McGarry, Sarpreet Singh
Forwards: Andrija Kaludjerovic, Dario Vidosic, Roy Krishna, Hamish Watson, Adam Parkhouse, Logan Rogerson