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Rufer returns to the Phoenix

New Zealand’s Alex Rufer is set to make his return to the Wellington Phoenix, signing a two year contract with the A-League club after fighting his way back from a horrendous injury only nine months ago.

A heavy tackle broke the tibia in the attacking midfielder’s right leg, along with his ankle, and amid the intense pain was the thought that his dream of being a professional footballer was over.

“It was a pretty sad day. I was lost. So down,” Rufer said.

“All I ever wanted was to be a professional footballer and the negative thoughts took over at the start,” he added.

“Once I started to feel better my mood improved and I became determined that day wouldn’t end my career.”

Rufer was grateful to have an experienced physiotherapy team on board with the Phoenix to help fast-track his recovery.

“I was told it would be at least 12 months before I could play again but I made it in 9 months and 5 days,” he said.

“I have physios Rob Lee, who has now left the club, and Brent O’Connor to thank for getting me through, and I owe those two a huge debt because they have done a massive job with my recovery and I can’t thank them enough,” he added.

“Now that I’ve come out of it I feel I can come back bigger and stronger.”

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was delighted to have Rufer back in contention for a place.
“The boy has worked really hard to get back to fitness,” he said.

“He has been conscientious with his rehab programme and has been training the house down this pre-season,” he added.

“A footballer’s biggest fear is being out of the game for a long time through injury and not being able to get back.

“Alex has bounced back and all credit to him.”

Rufer’s two-year Wellington Phoenix contract will take him through to May 2018.

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