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Pioneering Berkovic by: Leslie Bunder
FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Sport

Eyal Berkovic
Eyal Berkovic

With a wave of new Israel talent playing in English football including Idan Tal and Yanav Katan, it's hard not to forget that Eyal Berkovic was a forerunner to them.

Nicknamed 'The Magician', he started his career with Maccabi Haifa in 1989, Berkovic amassed international attention so that in 1996, he signed up to English team Southampton.  Over the next nine years, he managed to play for a number of other clubs including West Ham United, Celtic in Scotland, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Portsmouth.

Eventually in January 2005, he left England to go back to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

But while he was here, he made a name for himself. His transfer to Celtic from West Ham saw him valued at 5.75m and when he left them for Manchester City, he got 25,000 a week playing for the new team.

As a player for the Israel national team, Berkovic has made 82 appearances and scored 14 goals.

Since coming back to Israel, 34-year-old Berkovic has not hidden his ambitions beyond just playing on the field, he would love to get Israel manager job.  Berkovic has called for changes to be made in the Israel national team which has failed to make it to the World Cup since 1970.

Part of Berkovich's vent go stem from current Israel team manager Avraham Grant not allowing him to play in the World Cup qualifiers.

Grant announced last October he was stepping down from the manager's job and a replacement has yet to be announced, though Berkovic would take up the role given the chance.

"I am prepared to retire today and coach the national team," he said last year. "Maybe it's time to bring in new blood, people who understand today's players, their psyche."



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