Israeli soccer star Eran Zahavi is set to return to Israel and play for Maccabi Tel Aviv on a two-year contract, six years after leaving the team to play overseas, the club announced Sunday.
Zahavi, 34, expressed his excitement about rejoining the team, thanking the club officials and his fans in the team’s statement.
“I intend to give everything in order to help my teammates and everyone connected with the club to achieve the goals and success that we all wish for,” he added.
The player originally left Israel for China in 2016 to play for Guangzhou F.C. For the past two years, he has been living in Amsterdam, playing for Israel’s national team and Dutch soccer club PSV Eindhoven.
Ynet news site reported that the contract will see Zahavi earning $1,000,000 per season, in addition to a percentage of merchandise sales. It also includes a clause that promises Zahavi involvement in the team if he chooses to retire.
Canadian billionaire and club owner Mitch Goldhar expressed his enthusiasm for Zahavi’s return in the club’s statement, saying the star’s “achievements speak for themselves,” and that Zahavi’s “competitive drive” was suited to Maccabi’s aspirations.
“We have a lot of work to do to achieve our goals. The addition of Eran is another step toward our preparations for next season,” Goldhar said.
Zahavi’s time overseas was not without troubles. Last year, his house in Amsterdam was broken into twice, in May, and in December.
Hebrew-language media reported in December that Zahavi was considering the move back to Israel.
While in China, Zahavi made a name for himself as one of the best foreign players in the China Super League.
The Israeli star broke the CSL single-season scoring record in 2019, scoring 29 goals in one season, surpassing the record set by Brazilian player Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso in 2014.