Eran Zehavi is expected to announce in the coming hours his decision, whether to return to Maccabi Tel Aviv, or go on another adventure abroad, this time in the Brazilian luxury team Botafogo.
The team has been courting Zahavi for many weeks, and just before his final decision, it's time to get acquainted with the team, which is not by chance its nickname is "O Glorioso" - that is, the glorified.
Just a little over a week ago several dozen angry fans broke into the team’s training complex, “Espasu Loniere,” and loudly protested the bad ability and disappointing results.
The story has received a huge media response, and not just in Brazil.
Zehavi also saw the sights, but received reassuring calls from Mario.
It should be understood, Eran knows very well everything that happens in the team and in the league in Brazil.
Until recently he was in constant telephone contact with his former coach Paolo Sousa, who coached Flamengo but was sacked a few weeks ago.
What will decide ?, Photo: Getty
The billionaire owner
The billionaire owner
Whoever is in contact with him almost daily is the American billionaire John Textur, who about six months ago bought Botafogo, one of the four luxury teams of Rio de Janeiro, and really wants to see the Israeli striker lead the team's attack.
Texture is starring these days all over the world.
A year ago he paid £ 87 million to take over 40 per cent of Crystal Palace's shares in the Premier League. In January he bought 90 per cent of Botafogo's shares for € 62 million, plus a 80 per cent stake in Belgian club Molenbeek.
He tried to acquire 25 per cent of Benfica's shares, and when that move failed, he moved to France.
On Tuesday, he completed the acquisition of 67 percent of shares in Olympic Lyon, one of France's luxury groups.
The amount he paid for the pleasure: about 530 million euros.
Until recently it was not possible to purchase clubs in Brazil as they were owned by the fans, with the president elected once every few years.
But Cruzeiro and Botafogo decided to change the rules, so the former star Ronaldo bought Cruzeiro, the club where he grew up, for 62 million euros, and Textur bought Botafogo.
Fans of Botafogo's Moody suffering saw the texture as the Messiah.
And the American came out with a bombastic statement: "We will soon run over Flamengo."
Since then he has had time to regret these arrogant words and admitted that it was a mistake on his part.
The owner is shown in Lyon, Photo: AFP
The roller coaster this season
The roller coaster this season
The start of the season was good, and the fans were convinced that the team would be at the top and fight for a ticket to the Libertadores Cup.
After the first seven rounds the team scored 12 points and was at the top of the table.
But then came four consecutive losses, three of them against modest teams (Curitiba, Guias, Abay) and a drop below the red line - and the fans did not keep quiet.
Some have called for the dismissal of Portuguese coach Luis Castro - Manor Solomon's former coach at Shakhtar Donetsk.
But Textur was not too excited.
Nor was he moved when one of Brazil's top commentators, the legendary broadcaster Galbao Bueno, questioned the ability of the "American" to manage one of Brazil's historic teams.
Indeed, in the last two games Botafogo has been back to winning, much thanks to the move to the three-brake method.
After the 0-1 home win over Sao Paulo, came the sensational away win over International Porto Alegre 2: 3.
The Brazilian audience, Photo: getty
Although brakeman Felipe Sampaio was sent off after 7 minutes and Inter took a 0-2 lead in the 14th minute, Botafogo managed to work a miracle.
With 10 players, Castro's team made an incredible comeback and won 2: 3.
The referee added 11 minutes and the 20-year-old defender Hugo scored the winning goal (first goal of his career) in the 101st minute!
When the players arrived at the airport in Rio late at night, several dozen fans were waiting for them again.
Only this time they did not come to curse and protest - but to sing songs to them and swing them on their shoulders ...
The victory puts Botafogo in 7th place in the table (the first 6 go up to the Libertadores), and now everyone is waiting for the derby on Sunday against Fluminense, which is ahead of Botafogo by a goal difference.
And so, within eight days, the mood of "Or Glorioso" fans turned 180 degrees.
It is expected that the stands of Nilton Santos Stadium will be almost full in the derby against "Flo", which means 46 thousand spectators.
By the way, this derby has an interesting nickname: "Grandpa's Clasico".
The reason: This is the oldest derby in Brazil, held for the first time 117 years ago!
Brazil has 12 big teams, this is the nobility of local football.
And in Rio there are four big ones - Flamengo, the group of the people, Vasco da Gama, the group founded by immigrants from Portugal, and the two groups most of whose fans come from the more established strata - Botafogo and Fluminense.
Zehavi's new friends ?, Photo: getty
Flamengo is the most popular team in Brazil, with over 40 million fans, known as the "Red-Black Nation".
Botafogo by comparison has "only" 4 million fans.
Botafogo plays in black-and-white striped shirts, like Juventus, since one of the founders, Itamar Tavares, was a Yuva fan.
Botafogo's golden age was in the 50's and 60's, when it was one of the best teams in the world.
In the lineup played the legendary defender Nilton Santos, the genius midfielder Didi and of course Garrincha, who many believe in Brazil was more discriminatory.
Nilton Santos, Didi and Garrincha were among the stars of the Brazilian team that won two World Cups, in 1958 and 1962.
And when Brazil, the biggest of them all, won the 1970 World Cup, the squad was played by two representatives of Botafogo, midfielder Gerson and goal-scorer Giorgini.
Both scored in a 1: 4 victory over Italy in the final.
To date Botafogo is the team that has sent the most players to Brazil's squads in the World Cup, and its players have a total of 1,094 appearances in the Salsa uniform - more than any other team.
In recent years, Botafogo has suffered from a severe economic crisis, which has caused, among other things, two league relegations within three years.
But with the new owner's financial investment, expectations are back to the top of Brazilian football.
The transfer window in Brazil will open on July 18, and John Textur plans to add four to six new players.
Eran Zehavi is at the top of the list and the owner of Botafogo is negotiating with him himself.
Huge crowd, Photo: Reuters
By the way, it was reported yesterday that Textur is examining the possibility of signing the famous Colombian midfielder Hamas Rodriguez, who is currently playing for Al Ryan in Qatar.
Unlike Zahavi, who is a free agent, Hamas has a contract for another year.
And anyway these are two players not sitting on the same slot.
According to the publications, Textur is offering Zahavi a one-and-a-half-year contract, with a salary of $ 5.25 million, or 3.5 million a year.
By the way, the highest paid player in the league in Brazil is Dudu, the star of Palmeiras, who earns about $ 3.7 million a year.
Zehavi is set to have the second highest salary in the league, more than the famous strikers Gabriel Barbosa ("Gabigol") from Flamengo and Holek from Atletico Mineiro earn.
Pretty amazing, remembering that in a month Eran will celebrate his 35th birthday. If Eran arrives in Rio in a little less than a month, he will find a team there with young and talented Brazilians in link and offense, and with some old and interesting foreigners on defense.
At the gate stands the Paraguayan Roberto "Gattito" (the cat) Fernandez, the son of the famous former goalkeeper Roberto "El Gato" (the cat) Fernandez.
On defense are three tough Argentines, captain Joel Carly, Renzo Sarabia and Victor Cuesta.
The most famous name in the group is the contact Lucas Peason.
He is considered a prodigy, compared to Kaka, and when he was 16 Chelsea bought him for £ 5million.
Piason did not live up to high expectations and embarked on a series of questions, including at Malaga, Vitesse, Parkenburg, Reading and Fulham, before being acquired by Braga, who loaned him to Botafogo - his first senior team in Brazil.
Let there be no misunderstandings.
Eran Zehavi knows everything there is to know about Botafogo.
He knows the squad, the methods, the playing style of coach Luis Castro (also following talks with Manor Solomon), the training facility and the stadium. For Zahavi, everything is clear and known.
All the data is on the table.
Now he only has to announce his decision.
And it will happen real soon.
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