Soccer / Who Messed With the Zohar?

Itzik Zohar, the former soccer player, sports commentator and celebrity whose face was slashed early Wednesday night by an assailant in Tel Aviv, yesterday denied all the rumors that have been sparked by the incident.

"This wasn't because of a business deal or an affair," Zohar said. "I'm no angel and never have been, but there's a huge difference between that and having enemies that want to harm you and your work. Perhaps they did it to me because I'm Itzik Zohar, perhaps they did it because of what I represent."

The former soccer player was attacked with a broken glass bottle by an unknown individual on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv around 1:00 A.M. The wound required hospital treatment and was soon picked up by the national newspapers.

"It was bizarre, surreal," Zohar recounted yesterday. "I was walking with friends down Rothschild Boulevard and a guy came out of nowhere with a broken bottle, cut my face and kept running. I have no idea why or who it was."

Zohar said reports that he had 52 stitches were wrong; he only needed 26 stitches. "It's just a little plaster on my face - I'm still pretty," he said.

Meanwhile, police officers who read about the incident in the newspapers summoned Zohar to the Yarkon Street station in Tel Aviv yesterday to give a deposition.

However, Zohar refused to file a complaint, telling police he was reluctant to do so because he hoped he could ignore the incident.

"On the night it happened, I didn't want to file a complaint," he explained. "I wanted it to be over with. If someone wanted to hurt me, he could have done a lot worse."

Zohar reputation as a playboy

Zohar's career began at the youth team of Maccabi Yafo. He was then bought by Maccabi Tel Aviv where his career took off. He later played for a number of clubs in Israel, including Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa.

He also had stints at the English club Crystal Palace, the Belgian club Antwerpen and he played for the Israeli national team. Throughout his career, he has gained a reputation as a clubber and his name has often been mentioned in tabloids and gossip columns. Since his retirement, Zohar has appeared on several television programs on Channel 10 and the Sport 5 channel as an actor, presenter and sports commentator.

In addition to his work, he plays for a beach volleyball team representing Rosh Ha'ayin as well as the Israeli national beach soccer team.

Banks forclose Zohar's car

He has also worked as a model, and several years ago, he opened a nightclub in Tel Aviv, which has since closed. Recently, his car was foreclosed due to debts. He is also said to be a frequent guest to casinos and other gambling establishments.

Zohar said he hoped to get back to work as a sports commentator as soon as possible, adding that he hopes the incident will not affect his career.

"They did not damage my face like they wanted to. I shall continue to work on television and I am in good physical condition," he said.