Mandi signs on after Wellington trial

12 October 2018 07:58:51 EST

Spanish midfielder Mandi has become Wellington Phoenix's final overseas visa player for the new A-League season.

The 29-year-old has inked a one-season deal with Mark Rudan's side after coming through a trial.

He most recently played in the Spanish second tier for Almeria, his spell with the team coming to an end after a torn Achilles.

Mandi has now recovered, and Rudan says he will bring solidity to the club's midfield.

"I watched him when I was in Europe and he will complement our defensive structure in the middle of the park," said the coach.

"He is not only a defensive rock but also possesses leadership qualities having captained teams he's played for."

The Phoenix could open up another visa spot midway through the season if Fiji international striker Roy Krishna is granted New Zealand citizenship.

Mandi, who represented Real Madrid's reserve team from 2010 to 2012 and also had a spell with Sporting Gijon, has become Wellington's fifth overseas player for 2018/19.

He said: "I felt like something new and I like New Zealand and what I have seen. Not only will I be living in a beautiful country but I will be playing in the A-League which I think will be a big challenge given the quality of the players here."

Wellington had been in the market for another holding midfielder to play alongside Polish signing Michal Kopczynski.

Rudan has indicated he wants to sign two or three more players before the season starts on 21st October against last season's beaten Grand Finalists Newcastle.

Wellington are 12121/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Phoenix are 23/10 to win their first game of the A-League season against Newcastle, who are 23/20 with the draw 5/2.

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