Melbourne Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses has advised that he will leave the club at the end of the 2015/16 season after agreeing to join Wellington Phoenix.
The 26-year-old will play out the remainder of the current campaign with Victory, before returning home to join the New Zealand-based club.
“Naturally, we’re disappointed to lose a player like Kosta, who has been an important member of our team for the last three seasons,” said Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.
“We were determined to keep him, but ultimately he believes this is the best decision for him.
“We understand the opportunity to move back home to be close to his family was a strong factor in his decision.
“We would like to thank Kosta for his contribution to Melbourne Victory and wish him all the best for the future.”
Barbarouses, who was born and raised in Wellington, made his Hyundai A-League debut for Phoenix in 2007.
After a stint with Brisbane Roar, then overseas in Russia and Greece, he joined Victory for the 2013/14 season.
He has played 69 games and scored 13 goals for the club to date, and has missed just two games so far in the current campaign.
“This was a very tough decision for me because I have loved my time at Melbourne Victory over the last three seasons,” Barbarouses said.
“In the end, the opportunity to move back home to live close to my family was too hard to pass up.
“It has been an honour playing in front of the Melbourne Victory members and fans and I will leave with a heavy heart because their support for me has been unbelievable.
“I would like to thank Ange Postecoglou, Kevin Muscat, all the coaches and my teammates for giving me the chance to play for Victory, and I will give everything I have for the rest of the season to try and bring more silverware to the club.”