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Israeli Football Players Who Caught the Attention of Fans

Israeli football player
Israeli football player Eran Zahavi in 2021 / Wikipedia

by Contributing Author

Football is a sport enjoyed globally, and for many countries, it’s the top sports fans love. Football has been widely considered the favorite sport to bet on, and with online sportsbooks available globally, it’s easier than ever to bet on any team. This allows for many online sports betting opportunities, where bettors can bet on their favorite team or player.

Israel is one of the countries where football is king, and while they might not be as big on the football scene as, say, Brazil, they have much to offer. We looked at two fan-favorite Football players from Israel and two up-and-coming players who caught fans’ eyes.

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While Israel might not be as well-known on the football scene as some other countries, they continue to produce good players whom fans love.

Eran Zahavi

This Israeli footballer started his career at the tender age of six. He has since climbed the ranks of Israeli football teams and currently plays for Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven as a forward. He’s also a member of the Israel National Team and is one of the top goal scorers, with 33 goals behind his name.

He has been named Israeli Footballer of the Year twice in 2014 and 2015 and has been the top goal scorer for three consecutive seasons. During the 2015 to 2016 season, he scored 35 goals, which set a league record. He set another goal-scoring record in 2019 and appeared more than 65 times since he became Israel’s senior international footballer.

Today, Zahavi is one of the best Israeli footballers, leading Israel to a 4-0 win against the Faroe Islands during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He also scored two goals against Austria in the qualifiers, with Israel winning 5-2 in the end. He was one of the top scorers during the qualifiers and remains one of Israel’s most popular players today.

Israeli football player
Israeli football player Lior Refaelov / Wikipedia

Lior Refaelov

Lior Refaelov is an attacking midfielder/winger for Anderlecht, a Belgian side, as well as for the Israel National Team. He started playing in 1998 for the Maccabi Haifa youth teams and continued to grow his career from there. During his time with Maccabi Haifa, he won the Israeli Premier League three times before transferring to Club Brugge in 2011.

He continued to win two division titles in 2016 and 2018, and in the 2015 Belgian Cup Final, he scored the winning goal. He had earned more than 30 caps for Israel since 2007, which is when he debuted as a senior international footballer. 

Refaelov moved from Club Brugge to Royal Antwerp and transferred to Anderlecht as of December 2021 with a two-year contract.

Two Up-and-Coming Players

When looking at fan favourites, we can’t neglect the potential of newer players on the scene. There’ve been several eye-catching players who started to make a name for themselves, despite not having the same weight behind their names their seniors have.

Oscar Gluh

Oscar Gluh is a midfielder in the Maccabi Tel Aviv U19 who started catching eyes during the 2021/2022 season. He scored 16 goals last season and signed with the Maccabi Tel Aviv U19 until 2024. He recently debuted in a match against Maccabi Haifa, where he scored his first professional goal. This instantly had fans perking up, as Maccabi Haifa aren’t only Israel’s current champions but also the favourites to win this season.

 Israeli football player
Israeli football player Mohammad Abu Fani / Wikipedia

Mohammad Abu Fani

While not a youth player, Abu Fani made his debut on the Israel National Team in 2020 during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs. However, he caught fans’ attention in the recent match of Maccabi Haifa against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Abu Fani managed to hold the ball in the corner for over two minutes, which ultimately won the game for Maccabi Haifa. Maccabi Haifa fans and professionals alike were amazed at his performance, which, while unorthodox, managed to secure his team their win.

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