Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Prodigal Son Itzhaki Returns to Betar
Hey, how long can a Jew stay away from Jerusalem?
Itzhaki shows himself to be a true son of Israel by passing up the money KRC Genk could offer and returning to his homeland to play for Betar.
Good for you, Itzhaki!
Now, take us to the championship!
(Not that I am biased for Betar! LOL)
Jul 21, 2008 11:29 | Updated Jul 21, 2008 11:40
Itzhaki completes return to Betar
By ALLON SINAI
The Barak Itzhaki transfer saga finally came to an end on Sunday after the 23-year-old completed his move from Belgian club KRC Genk to Betar Jerusalem.
Itzhaki made no secret of his wish to return to Betar in recent weeks, angering Genk, which was hoping to hold on to him. He is back in Jerusalem just eight months after leaving for Europe.
The forward didn't settle in Belgium and, despite quickly becoming a fixture in Genk's starting lineup, scoring three goals in 13 league appearances, he agreed to take a cut in salary to play again at Teddy Stadium.
Betar will pay a reported 1.2 million euros for Itzhaki, 200,000 euros more than it received for him in January.
"I'm very excited," Itzhaki said on Sunday. "The negotiations were long and arduous, but in the end each of the sides compromised. It's not easy for me to talk about the reasons that brought me back to Betar. It's not because I was homesick like everybody thinks. I returned to Betar because I think that I can reach the top European leagues from this club. I'm happy with all the decisions I have made in my career."
Itzhaki, who will be able to play in the Champions League qualifier against Wisla Krakow next week, will train with the youth team in the next couple of days as the senior squad is currently training in Switzerland and will only return home on Tuesday.
"Betar has many good players and we will do all we can to get the season off to the right start in the two matches against Krakow," Itzhaki said. "I know that there will be a fight for places in the starting lineup, especially up front. I hope to be ready for the first leg against Wisla, but coach Itzhak Schum is the one who will decide if and how much I will play."