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Rojas makes A-League Men return to Wellington

Marco Rojas has come home, signing a one-year deal with his first professional club, Wellington Phoenix.

The fleet-footed attacker - nicknamed the "Kiwi Messi" for his dribbling skills - is returning to New Zealand after spells in the A-League Men, Europe and South America.

It's a major boost to the 'Nix, who are losing core talent that powered the club to a best-ever second-placed finish last season.

Rojas first joined the Phoenix in 2009, but will lace up again in yellow and black after a quick series of discussions with coach Giancarlo Italiano.

The 32-year-old reached out to fellow All Whites international Tim Payne by text to see if the club might be interested in a second stint.

"'Chiefy' reached out and we had a conversation ... and it just grew from there," he said.

"From the outside in it looks like a great place to be.

"I recognise what a great person (Italiano) is and I'm very hopeful that we can win together."

Rojas exploded on to the scene in his first spell with Wellington, coming from amateur to international football within two seasons.

After switching to Melbourne Victory in 2011, Rojas won the Johnny Warren Medal in 2013 and moved to Europe.

He has since played for clubs in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Chile - as well as another two seasons with Victory, and most recently Brisbane Roar.

Italiano said he was delighted to bring Rojas - who he called "a special player" - back to New Zealand.

"We're the right club for him to thrive. We're going to give him the freedom to play and express himself," he said.

"If we can get a fit Marco firing he's going to help the team's progression in the way we play, and I think we can definitely be better stylistically than we were last season."

In a romantic gesture, the club has reunited Rojas with No.21, the same shirt number he enjoyed more than a decade ago.

Rojas offsets the loss of striker Oskar Zawada and imminent departure of Ben Old in the forward line.

Wellington will line up very differently to last season, with player of the year Alex Paulsen and his goalkeeping understudy Jack Duncan also gone, Nico Pennington moving back to Australia and Finn Surman also likely to move.

Alex Paulsen.
Alex Paulsen has swapped the south of NZ's north island for the south of England. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The transfers of three young Kiwi talents - Paulsen, Old and Surman - would bolster the club's bottom line, with Paulsen moving for a seven-figure fee to Premier League club Bournemouth.

Director of Football Shaun Gill said it was "definitely a difficult time" financially for the league but the Phoenix were well placed to weather the storm.

"In discussions with a lot of players, they're obviously looking for more money than what's out there," he said.

"We're fortunate in so much that we've always played at a very sensible level compared to some other clubs in terms of our player budget."

Italiano said Bozhidar Kraev had a contract offer in front of him from the club which he was currently considering.