Football: Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer recommits to club, signs three-year contract extension

Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer is here to stay, extending his tenure at the club well into a second decade.

The experienced central-midfielder will play for the Phoenix until the end of the 2025-26 season, after signing a three-year extension to his current contract.   

Despite being just 26, Rufer is in his 10th A-League season, and has led the team since the start of the 2021-22 campaign when he was appointed the club's first homegrown captain.

"I love this club and I want to win something here," Rufer said. "I've been at the Phoenix for many years now and I've grown from a young boy into a man."

Alex Rufer celebrates.
Alex Rufer celebrates. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I'm really looking forward to the next three years. I think it's important to have that security so I can worry about playing my best football, and I believe that's still to come." 

Rufer missed the first eight games of the ongoing season after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee in March last year.

His eight-month comeback was solidified when he memorably scored his maiden goal in his 107th A-League game against the Central Coast Mariners in round 13.  

Rufer's recent form at the heart of the midfield has led to him being recalled to the All Whites after a long absence from international duty. He started the first game for the All Whites during their 0-0 draw against China at Mt Smart Stadium last week.

Phoenix director of football Shaun Gill is extremely happy Rufer has chosen to stay on with the club.

"Rufs is part of the fabric of the Wellington Phoenix. He's not only a great leader, but he's the linchpin of the men's midfield. 

"Rufs has been through great highs and lows, both personally and with the club, over the past decade, and has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injuries on two occasions.

"It was a priority to secure his signature and we are delighted he is going to be sticking around."

The signing brings some much needed relief to the club after they recently announced All Whites Clayton Lewis and Oli Sail as well as midfielder Steven Ugarkovic will all be leaving the club at the end of the season.

The Phoenix are also still waiting for coach Ufuk Talay to decide on his future. Talay is off contract at the end of the season and although he has engaged in conversions with the club, he recently said he still hasn't decided what his football future holds.

Rufer's re-signing means 12 of the current men's squad are now contracted to the club beyond this season.