Omer Atzili's goals and assists in the 2022/23 Premier League season (Sport1)
Omar Atzili's move from Maccabi Haifa to Al Ain became official today (Friday) after the UAE club announced an agreement in principle, with medical tests and the midfielder's signature expected later this month and only upon completion will he become the team's player and in fact the first Jewish footballer in the Emirates.
Al Ain made headlines for Israeli football fans in February 2021, when an agreement was signed between Maccabi Haifa and the club on cooperation that according to the agreement is supposed to include, among other things, transferring players between the sides and holding friendly matches. The agreement was signed shortly after diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE began, and as is known, there have not yet been any transfers or matches between the sides, Atzili's move also has nothing to do with cooperation between the teams, but rather with the fact that Al Ain activated his release clause from Maccabi Haifa in the amount of two million euros, but the club from the Persian Gulf boasts a glorious history that is worth knowing.
Yarmolenko is already there. Al Ain players (Photo by Getty Images, Francois Nel)
Al Ain was founded in 1968 and won its first championship nine years later. Since then, Al Ain has become the most decorated club in the UAE with 14 championships, four cups and five domestic Super Cups. Al Ain also won the Gulf Cup in 2001 and reached its peak when it won the Asian Champions League in 2003, a title no other club from the Emirates has ever won. In December 2018, Al Ain also reached the Club World Cup final, where they lost 4-1 to Real Madrid.
This season, Al Ain finished second in the UAE and lost the title to Shabab Al Ahly, but qualified for the Asian Champions League. The only European players in the squad are Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko, formerly at Borussia Dortmund and West Ham where he arrived last year, as well as Danilo Odud, another Ukrainian on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk and Croatian defender Tin Yadavai who is known from his time at Bayer Leverkusen. There are also Brazilians, Argentines and players from Ghana, Morocco and Senegal alongside the many locals.
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A nobleman's new home in the UAE (Photo: Getty Images, Francois Nel)
The coach is Dutchman Alfred Schroeder, who was appointed two weeks ago after being sacked from Ajax last season. Schroeder was formerly a candidate for Maccabi Tel Aviv and before arriving at Ajax in the summer of 2022 and as is known from there he was fired last January, coached at Club Brugge, was an assistant coach at Barcelona and also coached Hoffenheim and Twente.
Omar Atzili's new home will be the Haza bin Zayed Stadium, which was inaugurated in 2014 and has almost 23,<> seats. The owner of the club is Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, no less than the third President of the UAE, Emir of Abu Dhabi and Commander-in-Chief of the UAE Army.
- Israeli football
- Omer Noble