Jerusalem, Apr 12: Israeli soccer star Yossi Benayoun, who had played for Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, announced his retirement on Thursday at the age of 39. Benayoun, a midfielder, began his career in Israel at Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Maccabi Haifa clubs. In 2002, he made his debut in Europe, for the Spanish club Santander, and after three seasons he moved to the English Premier League side West Ham United. In 2007, Benayoun signed with Liverpool, where he played for 3 years, made 92 appearances and scored 18 goals.
In 2010, he was acquired by Chelsea, where he had 14 appearances and scored one goal. In 2011 he was loaned to Arsenal, where he played 19 times, scoring 4 goals.After returning to West Ham for a short period and also playing for Queens Park Rangers, he returned to Israeli soccer. Benayoun also tops all-time appearance list of Israel's national team (102), in which he scored 24 goals.Benayoun is currently playing Beitar Jerusalem, and at the end of the season next month he will be appointed general manager of the club for two years.
"Soccer is an inseparable part of me, I am happy with the journey I made. There are moments that I will take with me for life," Benayoun wrote in his retirement announcement on Instagram. Eran Zahavi, Israeli striker of Guangzhou R&F, wrote: "When I was asked at the age of 12 who I would want to be, I said 'Yossi Benayoun'. He is the greatest-ever Israeli player." (XINHUA)