A-League: Phoenix captain Andrew Durante ponders playing future ahead of home finale

While departing coach Mark Rudan's future at the Wellington Phoenix future is clear, what next for captain Andrew Durante remains a mystery.

The 36-year-old says he's undecided on his playing future, approaching the end of what could be his final season in the A-League.

Durante began his football career in 2001 in Australia before moving to the Phoenix in 2008, and he's since become the A-League's most capped player.

He has also played 24 times for New Zealand, including at the Confederations Cup and also in World Cup qualifiers.

The central defender is one of many players off contract at the end of the season, and with a new coach to come in Durante needs to see if he is wanted, but he also plans to take some time away from the game and make a call with a "clear mind" during the offseason.

If Durante does decide to retire, Sunday's match against Melbourne City could be his last match at Westpac Stadium.

"It could potentially be my last game at Westpac Stadium," he told Newshub.  "If I decided to stay on it'd definitely just be for another year.

"I've played every game this year, and my body feels good. In terms of the physical side of it, I believe I could go around again and what I could offer in the changing room I think I can still add value.

"I'll take time away from the game and spend time with my family. It's a hard decision to make when you're riding the highs and lows of each game.

"I want a clean mind about whether I continue to or not. I want to finish this season, and when I feel the time is right and got my ducks in a row, then I'll make the announcement."

When Durante signed with the Phoenix, he never envisioned he would have lasted as long as he did.

He has played through some of the most successful times at the club, while also enduring some of the toughest which included ownership changes and many coaching changes.

"I signed a two-year deal thinking I'd play out the contract and then head back to Australia.

"I saw a really good opportunity for myself to come and make a change at a football club that I felt had a real ambition to be successful.

"Eleven years on I'm still here. Ricki Herbert gave the captain's armband a big responsibility, and I've taken that on and enjoyed it.

"It has had its difficult times, but I'm still here as the captain of the club."

Durante reflected on the highs and lows of the club, and if they manage to win the title, that would be the icing on the cake in a stellar career.

'In 2010, we 35,000 to watch a playoff game and the buzz around the city was Phoenix fever. It was a special time to be part of the club.

"Also the West Ham and Newcastle games were special and an iconic time for football in the country.

"From day one when I came here, it was my goal to do something that nobody believed we could do and if there is a chance, this year would be the year.

"We have such a high-quality group of players who all have one goal to win the league. You win three games in the playoffs, and you win the trophy.

"I won a title in Newcastle, but winning the title here would top that." 

If Durante does retire, he is unsure of his plans, but he has options in and away from football.

"I've looked at a few options. There are some options in football I would look at.

"I enjoy the football operations with recruitment and scouting which I like, but there are also opportunities outside of the game that are exciting and out of my comfort zone." 


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