Israeli soccer star leaves UK team after pro-Palestinian fan treatment – report

Israeli soccer player Liel Abada left his Glasgow-based team, Celtic FC, according to a statement by his former manager Avi Luzon.

The 22-year-old winger has moved for a reported £8m fee and signed a deal until 2026, BBC News reported.

Abada wrote that leaving Celtic “wasn’t in my plans, yet life’s unpredictable turns remind us that we’re not always in control.

“The past six months have been a personal challenge, yet the overwhelming support from the Gaffer, coaches, and board has been my rock. Their unwavering faith during these times won’t be forgotten but cherished forever.”

Luzon, the chief of Maccabi Petah Tikvah, said in a statement on Sport 5 that pro-Palestinian fans left Abada “no choice” but to leave. 

Abada had started his career at Maccabi Petah Tikvah before moving to Celtic FC in 2021, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Soccer Football – Scottish Cup Final – Celtic v Inverness Caledonian Thistle – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – June 3, 2023 Celtic’s Liel Abada in action (credit: RUSSELL CHEYNE/REUTERS)

“On a personal level, Liel Abada felt very bad with everything that was happening, including the indignation of the fans on the street towards him — more than once,” Luzon said. “Liel felt unwelcome where he was – there were hostile looks and it’s not nice to feel that.”

Frame of mind since the start of the war

Brendan Rodgers, manager of Celtic, claimed that Abada had not been in the right “frame of mind” since October 7, according to the JC.

Rodgers also dismissed claims that Abada had been subjected to abuse by pro-Palestinian fans on the streets in Glasgow and told The Herald: “I’m not aware of that. I speak regularly with Liel. It’s sadly a situation which doesn’t put him in the right frame of mind to play.”

Abada will play for Charlotte FC until 2026, with an option to extend his contract in 2027.

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