The ‘Kiwi Messi’ makes a surprise A-League return, while ‘Nix snag Costa Rican World Cup international for the run home


Battling Brisbane Roar have signed former Johnny Warren Medallist and New Zealand international Marco Rojas in a bid to spark their attack and turn their season around.

Tricky winger Rojas, who had multiple stellar stints with Melbourne Victory, has signed until the end of the current season with the ninth-placed Roar, who have only scored 22 goals in 15 games.

Rojas, the 2012-13 Johnny Warren Medallist nicknamed ‘The Kiwi Messi,’ has scored 41 goals in 140 appearances for the Victory and Wellington, along with five goals in 43 caps for New Zealand.

140 games. 41 goals. One ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????? highlight reel ???????? Marco Rojas is back in the A-Leagues and THIS is a reminder of what he can do ????????

What a signing from @Brisbaneroar!

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 30, 2024

Of Chilean descent, Rojas most recently played for powerhouse club Colo-Colo and has had stints in Europe but said the time was right to return to Australia.

“I chose this project because it was the one that resonated the most with how I was feeling and what I was thinking at this point in my career,” Rojas said.

The 32-year-old will be available to face the Phoenix on Friday night, with the Roar attempting to snap a three-game losing streak under new coach Ben Cahn.

“Marco’s arrival is a significant milestone in our journey towards rebuilding and strengthening our club,” Roar chief executive Kaz Patafta said.

“His experience and leadership are crucial and will undoubtedly help us achieve our ambitious goals.”

Earlier, leaders Wellington signed Costa Rican international Youstin Salas for the remainder of the season.

Salas has represented his country seven times, which included two appearances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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Salas joins on loan from Costa Rican champions @SaprissaOficial for the remainder of the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League

Welcome Youstin ????#VamosTicos ????????#COYN! ???? | ????????

— Wellington Phoenix ???? (@WgtnPhoenixFC) January 29, 2024

“Youstin’s a very decorated player. He’s won a lot of trophies,” coach Giancarlo Italiano said.

“And importantly he can fill in across a number of positions.

“He has World Cup appearances as a right back, but he mostly plays as a six and he can fill in as a 10 if needed.

“When I spoke to him, his first goal was that he wants us to win the championship.

“That was the first thing he said to me, and I like that.”

Salas is on loan from Deportivo Saprissa, hoping his experience can lead the Phoenix to a maiden title.

“I come from being a three-time champion with Saprissa and I want to be a champion also with Wellington Phoenix,” Salas said.

“That is my mentality.”

Salas will join the squad in Wellington following the approval of his visa.

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