After two months of talks, Eyal Berkovic is a Maccabi Tel Aviv player.
The former Israel international inked a one-year deal yesterday with the club, though neither Maccabi nor Berkovic gave details of the contract except to say that it is for one season, that it could be extended, and that Berkovic had insisted Maccabi invite 1,000 children from underprivileged areas for each home match.
"I have come not in order to win the championship, but to win the double," Berkovic said at a news conference called by the club to announce the contract.
Berkovic, 33, is making a return to Israeli soccer after a nine-year career in Britain, during which he played for Southampton, West Ham United, Celtic, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Portsmouth.
He had wanted to return to Maccabi Haifa, where he began his career, but the club's chairman Jacob Shahar vetoed the move.
The deal was concluded with the mediation of Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball co-owner David Federmann.
Federmann summoned Berkovic, Maccabi chairman Loni Herzikovic and the club's director of football Eli Dricks to his home, and within an hour the three had shook hands on a deal.
"In the meantime I am committed for one season, and at the end we will see whether I have the drive to continue," Berkovic said. "If it's good I'll continue, if not, I won't."
Coach Nir Klinger said that when he spoke with Berkovic a couple of months ago, "I saw his passion and hunger for the game, and I decided to bring him to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Berkovic will give hundred percent heart and soul and will lead the other players."
Klinger is planning to bring in several new players alongside Berkovic, with Israel and Skahnin midfielder Abbas Suan, the hero of the national team's draw with Ireland last week, at the top of the list.
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