Brazilian midfielder Daniel might be leaving the Wellington Phoenix but he is getting closer to playing for New Zealand.
Phoenix general manager David Dome confirmed yesterday Daniel, who is off contract after five seasons with the club, will not be re-signed for the 2012-13 A-League season. He played 106 games for the Phoenix, often coming off the bench as an impact player.
While his family have already returned to Brazil, Daniel, who is still considering the next stage of his club career, has stayed in Wellington to complete the necessary residency requirements that will make him eligible for the All Whites.
"When my family left I had to stay another 10 days to complete my five years," Daniel said. "The five years is up on May 14 and what was 10 days after being here for five years?
"I've spoken to New Zealand Football and they told me Fifa have approved my application [to be eligible for the All Whites], which is fantastic. Now it is up to [All Whites' coach] Ricki Herbert whether I am picked to play but the main thing is I will be available."
The All Whites play El Salvador (May 23) and Honduras (May 26) before playing in the first round of World Cup qualifiers in the Solomon Islands early next month.
Daniel said A-League side Melbourne Heart and a Singapore club had approached him about his future but he was in no hurry to make a decision.
"Heart, where John Aloisi has taken over as coach, have asked if I am interested and I am sure we will talk some more," he said. "But the main thing is that I will soon be available for the All Whites and I think I would be able to play against El Salvador and Honduras later this month if Ricki wants me.
"I have loved my time in Wellington and have had five fantastic years. It will be very tough to leave but hopefully I will be able to keep my New Zealand links through the All Whites."