With nearly 200 first division appearances across a decade in his native Croatia, the 30-year-old defensive midfielder brings a wealth of experience, including in cup competitions and finals campaigns.
Capped more than 10 times for the Croatian U-19 national side, Paracki came through amid a generation of players including Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinić and Napoli’s Ivan Strinjić.
Primarily a defensive midfielder, it was Paracki’s work ethic and mentality that most caught the eye of Phoenix head coach Darije Kalezić.
“Goran’s natural position is holding midfielder,” said Kalezić, “he is hard-working, has a good mentality – a mentality that fits very well with the Australian and New Zealand league style. I think in Goran the fans will get a player they will really like.
“He comes from a very good professional environment, on the ball he’s also a very technical player, which adds a lot of quality in the way that we want to play our football.”
Having identified a defensive midfielder as one of the key recruitment priorities, it was a phonecall from Kalezić that convinced Paracki to make the big decision to move overseas.
“I know it is very far from my origins”, said Paracki “I’ve played most of my life in Croatia. But Darije called me and told me about his background, his project here at Wellington. My position is important, for the club’s goal to play the finals, and afterwards I thought about [this conversation] more and more.”
“My mum, I think she is a little sad, but this is football life – my friends understand this, you never know where you are going to go or where you are going to play. My wife she is very excited, she will come join me here closer to the season beginning.”
“My best friend in Croatia has a good friend, Mateo Poljak. He told me everything good about the league, about the quality of life. He spoke very highly of the reputation as well of Rado, so in the end I was very exciting to take this new opportunity.”
“I signed for just one season, but I am hoping that I can make this a longer stay.”
Paracki came through his medical without any problems and will join the Phoenix squad in training today.
Current Wellington Phoenix Squad:
Goalkeepers: Lewis Italiano, Oliver Sail
Defenders: Tom Doyle, Marco Rossi, Andrew Durante, Scott Galloway, Dylan Fox, Ryan Lowry, Louis Fenton
Midfielders: Gui Finkler, Michael McGlinchey, Sarpreet Singh, Matt Ridenton, Goran Paracki, Alex Rufer, James McGarry
Forwards: Roy Krishna, Adam Parkhouse, Logan Rogerson, Hamish Watson