Israel’s (and China’s) Greatest Footballer
Eran Zahavi (b. 1987) was born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, to a French-Jewish father and Israeli mother. He began playing soccer with the Hapoel Tel Aviv club when he was just 6 years old. After completing his IDF service, he started to play for Hapoel Tel Aviv’s senior team. In the 2009-10 season, he helped lead the team to an Israel State Cup, and an Israeli Premier League championship, scoring the winning goal in the 92nd minute of the final. Two years later, he signed a five-year deal with Italian club Palermo, but transferred to Maccabi Tel Aviv half way through the contract. He became the captain during the 2015-16 season, and set an Israeli record scoring 35 goals in 36 games. The following year, he signed with Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League. Zahavi quickly became a top scorer, and was nicknamed “King of Yuexiushan”. Rival team Shandong Luneng Taishan F.C. wanted him badly and offered $20 million for a trade—the most ever for an Israeli football player. In 2017, he was China’s MVP and won a Golden Boot Award. Two years later, he set a new Chinese Super League scoring record. In 2020, Zahavi returned to Europe, signing with Dutch team PSV Eindhoven. He tied the team record for goals that season. At the same time, during the 2020 Euro qualifiers, he was second only to Harry Kane in goals (and tied with Cristiano Ronaldo). In a game against Slovakia, Israel’s team was down 2-0 before Zahavi scored a hat-trick within 20 minutes, giving Israel the 3-2 win. After a couple of unfortunate incidents and attacks on his home in Amsterdam, Zahavi decided to return to Israel. A few weeks ago, he re-signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv for two years. Zahavi was Israeli Footballer of the Year twice, and is the national team’s all-time scoring leader.
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Words of the Week
This phase of existence is finite. Some people live 20 years, some people live 100 years – what’s the difference, really, from the perspective of that which transcends the infinite and the eternal? It’s equally insignificant. What is significant is what you actually do with the time that you do have.
– Dr. Vladimir Zev Zelenko, ob”m