With his recent heroics against Slovakia, Eran Zahavi has surely made himself one of the Israel national football team’s all-time football stars. Being named as a footballer of the year twice in his country, he has always attracted a lot of attention from across the footballing world.
From a career that began at Hapoel Tel Aviv to playing for clubs like Palermo, Guangzhou, to PSV, if there is an Israeli footballer that we can’t ignore, it has to be him.
Born in 1987, Zahavi’s football career started at Hapoel in 1993, at 6. At the age of 16, he went to a team in his hometown, Ironi Rishon LeZion. In 2005, he returned to his childhood club of Hapoel and managed to get to the state cup final with his team.
His European career kickstarted when he was scouted by and eventually bought by Palermo in Italy in 2011. However, it wasn’t an instant success, and he only managed to score twice in 23 games for Palermo. This saw him return to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2013. From there on, he has gone and played for Guangzhou, and PSV Eindhoven, where he currently plays.
Throughout his career, Zahavi has operated both as an attacking midfielder and a striker. His striking ability was more on show in China when he played for Guangzhou, where he managed to score 91 goals in only 105 games.
Zahavi is currently priced at €2.50 million on the transfer market. His highest price tag was around €10 million back in 2017 and 2019. While it seems peanuts when you compare it with the other players in Europe, this is a fair amount of market value and one that he has earned for someone coming from Israel.
His first professional transfer was for Palermo from Hapoel, which cost Palermo €1.68 million in 2011. Ever since, his career has seen quite a few transfers, most recently to PSV Eindhoven from Guangzhou for a free transfer. Before that, he was transferred to Guangzhou from Maccabi Tel Aviv for an estimated €7.23 million. Maccabi bought him from Palermo for 250k euros.
National Team Career
Zahavi has seen an overall successful career with the Israeli national football team, where he has scored an overall 24 goals in 59 games and 9 assists. In international competitions, UEFA euro qualifiers have been successful for him, where he has managed to score 13 goals in 26 games, averaging one goal every two games.
In his club career worth 400 games, he scored a whopping 233 goals. Out of those 233 goals, he has scored 91 for Guangzhou and 98 for Maccabi Tel Aviv. His other goals are divided over his career in Italy with Palermo, In Holland with PSV, and in Israel with Hapoel and Ironi.
While Zahavi has now reached 33 years of age, he doesn’t seem to slow down any sooner. His greater goal-scoring tallies have come in the later years of his career, suggesting that there is yet more to come from him.
Israel was respectfully eliminated from Euro qualifiers in 2020, but he surely will have his eyes settled on the next big European prize in football in the coming year. For someone who came from a little town of Israel, playing for the clubs that he has played for surely marks a great footballing career, and the one that will inspire a lot more.