Long before Zahavi: the great comebacks in Israeli football
Giora Spiegel returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv, Barda Hadarim to the Negev, Ohana flew from Portugal to Betar and Sinai returned from Belgium to take the championship. On the occasion of the return of Eran Zehavi, Ron Amikam ranks the ten biggest comebacks of Israeli football
Sunday, 03 July 2022, 19:30
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Eran Zehavi in the renewed debut training at Maccabi Tel Aviv (courtesy of Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Eran Zehavi's return after wandering seasons in China in the Netherlands to Maccabi Tel Aviv shakes up the summer transfer market and will also shake up Israeli football in the coming season. The times in Israeli football, let's be ranked, and then we will think.
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First we rank, then we think (Photo: Official website, Maccabi Tel Aviv)
10. Eli Yani to Hapoel Kfar Saba - Summer 1989
Eli Yani is one of Hapoel Kfar Saba's three greatest scorers of all time, with 99 league goals.
He has six titles in three different teams, he also won the title of top scorer and 6 times was the top scorer of Kfar Saba in the league, only Israel Fogel was once more.
With Kfar Saba he won as a young player in the Cup and after two seasons in a historic championship and then decided to leave and move to the big city.
First he won the championship with Hapoel Tel Aviv.
He was a passive dissident when Moshe Sinai found Gili Landau in the championship game against Maccabi Haifa, returned to Kfar Saba after the game, and again went to Betar Jerusalem and won the state cup with her. Delay on that if Jani had not won his last comeback season in the National Cup - his last title - was injured, the team was relegated and he went to play in the third league for another season and that's it.
9. Moshe Sinai to Hapoel Tel Aviv - Autumn 1987
Sinai left Hapoel Tel Aviv once again, after relegation in 1989, and returned to it as a player-manager after the championship with Bnei Yehuda.
This is less considered than his departure in the summer of 1987 for Belgian side Bayern, his first encounter as a legionnaire with the demanding European coaches, and his desire to return to the country.
Sinai is of course the greatest Hapoel Tel Aviv player of all time and his comeback in the 1987/8 season, which yielded 8 goals and 9 assists in half a season, led to Hapoel the hallucinatory championship, in the midst of a severe economic crisis that also led it to relegation a season later.
A comeback that led to the hallucinatory championship.
Moshe Sinai (Photo: official website, Adi Avishai, Maariv)
8. Reuven Atar to Maccabi Haifa - Winter 2000
Forgive me, Yaniv Katan, but Reuven Atar is the most popular player Maccabi Haifa has ever played, the crowd favorite.
When Ruben left Hapoel Haifa after the eighth round to join Eli Ohana's project in Betar Jerusalem, and led Betar to an amazing second round, no one believed that Eli Cohen, the sheriff, would be able to get him out of there after 16 games and land him in Kiryat Eliezer.
Ruben was already 31 years old, and it was clear to everyone that he was going to retire in the Maccabi Haifa uniform.
A comeback from the movies.
But a dream apart and reality apart.
Atar became a bench player in the Abraham Grant era and Grant's successor, Yitzhak Shom, already thought it was too much.
Atar left for Maccabi Netanya, lost the Champions League experience and the rest is history.
7. Haim Revivo to Ashdod CBS - Summer 2003
Haim Revivo has never played for MS Ashdod.
To be honest, this is a club that was merged in 1999 between Ashdod and Hapoel Ashdod, while Revivo starred alongside Mostoboy, Karpin and his listeners in Salta Vigo.
But Revivo grew up in Hapoel Ashdod, alongside Jackie Ben Zaken, and when it called for him after the Glatsray adventure, to return to Israel and retire to the community that raised him, he did so.
It was an impressive comeback: Revivo scored six goals and netted six more in 13 games and then, in one day, simply retired from football, at the age of 31.
A comeback that could and should have been bigger.
Benyon (Photo: Berni Ardov)
6. Giora Spiegel to Maccabi Tel Aviv - Summer 1978
Giora Spiegel was beyond any doubt a great Maccabi Tel Aviv player until he unexpectedly entered an international quarantine before the derby of the 1972/3 season.
He suddenly became a persona non grata with chairman Jerry Beit Halevi, but the crowd was thirsty for his return, certainly after 5 successful seasons in the French league where he became captain of Lyon and was in the 11th of the season at Calibro. 1975, the crowd made him as emotional as he did Eran Zehavi in Maccabi Tel Aviv's game against Eindhoven. And Spiegel returned at the end, for one season, in which he won the championship but left no mark. Avi Cohen received a contract in Liverpool, picked up the fund from which Bnei Tabak scored a championship goal at the YMCA and scored a goal in Hadera that went through a hole in the net ...
Spiegel moved after a season to power, relegated, came back with Betar Tel Aviv, and retired.
5. Yossi Benyon to Maccabi Haifa - Summer 2014
Yossi Benyon did not return to Dimona nor to Hapoel Beer Sheva, his first senior team, he returned at the age of 34 to the team from which he left for Europe.
And he returned after playing in three of the six biggest clubs in the Premier League, an achievement that no Israeli player has ever had.
And he returned at the same time as Eran Zehavi became the king of the Premier League and Aliniv Barda led Hapoel B'Shlosha for its great years. 2016, its first after 18 years, announced that he is leaving for the hated rival Maccabi Tel Aviv. It destroyed the whole relationship he had with Maccabi Haifa fans.
Turned Be'er Sheva into a winning brand.
Barda (Photo: Kobi Eliyahu)
4. Avi Cohen to Maccabi Tel Aviv - Winter 1982
When Avi Cohen was acquired by Liverpool in the summer of 1979 for £ 200,000, it was a hallucination, but also the end of an era. From that moment until Avraham Grant arrived in Kiryat Shalom in the summer of 1991, Maccabi did not win the championship and did not even compete for it. They were even bigger than Avi Cohen, who after two and a half years at Liverpool, decided to return to
Tel Avi, which paid him back $ 180,000, but he also failed to restore the team's achievements, even though he continued to be its captain and the team.
His comeback made him an icon even when he played abroad.
Remember the game against Maccabi defeated Hapoel Yehud for the first time in its history.
It happened in Bloomfield, in front of 1,500 people, with fans standing with their backs to the pitch and watching closely through the transistors for reports of the championship goal that Cohen scored in the Liverpool uniform for the Aston Villa network.
3. Avi is a member of Maccabi Tel Aviv - summer 2005
This was Nemanji's third comeback to Maccabi Tel Aviv, as he left for overseas adventures at Atletico Madrid and Derby County even earlier, but who remembers.
His two-year-old comeback is discovered in Betar Jerusalem, under the auspices of his accidental deportation (along with Tal Benin) in the summer of 2003, everyone remembers. With the same owner who parted ways with him, and was accompanied by a promise of a professional position and, of course, the building of a Galacticus staff that mockingly answers "Egalacticus".
Returned as a martyred saint.
I am one after the comeback (Photo: Berni Ardov)
2. Aliniv Barda to Hapoel Beer Sheva - Summer 2013
In a less crazy country, this comeback was first place - you will soon understand why - but after six seasons in Belgian Genk and after leaving at the age of 21 for Maccabi Haifa and from there moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Aliniv Barda returned to Hapoel Beer Sheva, a team that did not win a championship for 37 years.
Breda returned to the desert, literally, but swept away more players.
His return to the bosom of the community from which he emerged was devoid of pose.
Barda turned Hapoel Beer Sheva into a factor in Israeli football and the three consecutive championships he won with it between 2016 and 2018, made it one of the five (and possibly three) biggest clubs in Israel, he broke a glass ceiling.
The fact that he retired from active play as a result of a heart problem while wearing the team uniform only intensifies this amazing comeback.
Once a symbol, always a symbol.
Ohana after returning to Israel (Photo: Moti Kikion from Wikipedia)
Eli Ohana to Betar Jerusalem - Summer 1991
This is certainly the biggest craze in the history of Israeli football, which along the way picks up the big comeback award.
Eli Ohana, who led a small Belgian team to win the European Cup, which led Israel to the playoffs for the World Cup, which won the Outstanding Young Player Award in Europe (at the expense of Jean-Pierre Papen), decided to return to Betar Jerusalem, specifically in the second division. Rabbi Yossi Sperling had the money to fulfill the dream of manager Moshe Sinai, Ohana would still come to Hapoel Tel Aviv - and do gold before Zehavi - but Yoram Globus had more money, and Ohana returned home, raised Betar (scoring 17 goals , Of which two quartets) returned to the first division, won with her a second championship (the first was with him) in a season and two more championships (one as an injured), picking up the title of footballer of the season 13 years after winning it for the first time. .