July 2, 2010
Born in the southern Israeli city of Dimona in 1980, Benayoun became one of Israel’s top soccer players of all time. His world-class talents were recognized by Israeli scouts when he was only nine years old. He began his professional career with the Ha’poel Be’er Sheva Football Club at the age of 16. Quickly rising through the ranks of Israel’s professional football (what Americans call “soccer”) leagues, at the age of 21, Benayoun led his team, Maccabi Haifa, to its first national championship in seven years.
In 2002, Benayoun was recruited to play for Racing de Santander Football Club in Spain’s La Liga. He scored 21 goals in the three seasons that he played with Santander, making him a top player in Spain’s competitive world of professional soccer. Wanting to play in England, Benayoun signed on with English Premier League team West Ham United, and left Spain in 2005. Benayoun shined in the more competitive league and within two years he was recruited to play on the elite British team Liverpool Football Club.
Continuing his rise to stardom, Benayoun made numerous game-winning plays during his first two seasons with Liverpool. With a growing reputation in Europe, Benayoun secured a select position on the starting lineup for Liverpool during his second season. In 2010, Chelsea Football Club, one of Europe’s most prized teams, offered him a three-year, multi-million dollar deal to leave Liverpool. Benayoun’s continued success puts Israeli soccer on the map.
The photo shows Yossi Benayoun playing for Chelsea Football Club.