Yossi Benayoun

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Yossi Benayoun
Yossi Benayoun.jpg
0Full Name Yosef Shai Benayoun
0Date of Birth 5 May 1980
0Place of Birth Dimona, Israel
0Position Midfielder/Winger
0Chelsea career 2010–2013
0Debut 8 August 2010
0Games (goals) 24 (1)
0Other clubs Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Maccabi Haifa
Racing Santander
West Ham United
Liverpool
Arsenal (loan)
West Ham United (loan)

Yossi Benayoun (born 5 May 1980) is an Israeli international who played for Chelsea from 2010-13, having signed from Liverpool in July 2010.

Contents

Before Chelsea

Benayoun displayed a rare talent at a young age in his native Israel, and Ajax invited the 15-year-old Benayoun and his family to the Netherlands [1]. By his 16th birthday, he was the Ajax youth team's highest scorer and best player, and Ajax duly offered Benayoun a four-year professional contract, but he had failed to settle and returned to Israel.

Benayoun joined Israeli club Hapoel Be'er Sheva, and made his debut as a 17-year-old. Despite scoring 15 goals in 25 appearances [2] the club were relegated and Benayoun joined Maccabi Haifa for the 1998-99 season. Benayoun enhanced his reputation over the next four years, and led Haifa to a first championship after seven years under future Chelsea manager Avram Grant. Benayoun made 130 appearances for Haifa, scoring 55 goals, before moving to Racing de Santander in 2002, scoring 21 goals in 101 appearances at the Spanish club. After three years in La Liga, Santander opted to cash in on Benayoun, but the Israeli rejected a €5 million move to CSKA Moscow, preferring a move to England or to remain in Spain, sparking interest among English Premier League clubs.

Newly promoted West Ham United completed the signing of Benayoun in July 2005 for a fee of £2.5 million, with Benayoun signing a four-year contract. Manager Alan Pardew hailed the signing citing Benayoun's ability to "open the door when teams sit deep" while Benayoun revealed his excitement at the opportunity to play for West Ham and in the Premiership [3]. During a successful period at Upton Park, Benayoun played in the 2006 FA Cup Final for West Ham against Liverpool. Benayoun scored five times in 34 matches in his first season at West Ham, 3 goals in 29 appearances his second.

Benayoun then moved to Liverpool under controversial circumstances. He had verbally agreed a new four-year deal with West Ham in May 2007, only to go back on the agreement in a bid to move to Merseyside. The controversy was heightened on 10 July when the Israeli media reported that Benayoun's agent, Ronen Katsav, had agreed a deal with Liverpool which would mean Benayoun taking a lower pay than the £50,000 a week offered by West Ham in May. On 12 July, Liverpool FC reported on their official website that the signing of Yossi Benayoun had been completed; a £5 million deal with the Israeli signing a four-year contract [4].

Benayoun ended a successful first season at Liverpool having played 48 games and scoring 11 goals in the process, however his performance was not enough to prevent transfer rumours in the summer of 2008. This led to the Israeli openly announcing his intention to stay, saying: "Liverpool is good for me and it was always clear I want to stay and Liverpool wants me"[5]. Benayoun finished his second season at Anfield in spectacular fashion; scoring a goal in each of Liverpool's last three home matches. In the 2008–09 season, Benayoun played in 39 matches, scoring 9 goals, and on 6 July 2009, he signed a two-year contract extension tying him to the club until 2013. Despite continuing to impress when selected, Benayoun often found himself on the bench towards the end of his Anfield career, and felt that he suffered from a lack of respect from manager Rafa Benítez[6]. Following an offer from Chelsea, Benayoun agreed to join the Blues before the Spaniard left Anfield in the summer of 2010.

Chelsea career

Benayoun signed a three year contract at Stamford Bridge on 2 July 2010, for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £6m. Upon signing, the Israeli stated "I am very excited to come to a club like Chelsea, it is a big club and I think it is a dream for every player. Hopefully we will be successful", while manager Carlo Ancelotti praised his quality and versatility [7].

Having featured in pre-season, Benayoun made his debut against Manchester United in the 2010 Community Shield, coming on as a substitute for Florent Malouda. Benayoun made his Premier League debut the following weekend, again appearing as a second half subsitute during the 6-0 win against West Bromwich Albion. His third consecutive subsititute appearance yielded his first goal for Chelsea in the following game, the Israeli scoring an injury-time goal in another 6-0 win, against Wigan Athletic, guiding the ball inside the post from 10 yards out, from a Paulo Ferreira cut back. Benayoun made his first start in Chelsea colours in the Champions League on 15 September as part of the midfield three, a role in which he excelled, showing both composure and vision in the middle of the park as he set up Sturridge with a delightful through ball to score the fourth Chelsea goal on the night, having also played a part in the build-up to the first goal. One week later the Israeli international suffered a ruptured achilles during the 4-3 defeat to Newcastle United in the League Cup, an injury that would keep him out for over six months. Benayoun returned to the side in April, coming on as a substitute during a 1-0 win against Wigan Athletic.

Following the arrival of Juan Mata, Benayoun was deemed surplus to requirements for the 2011-12 season by new manager André Villas-Boas, and he joined Arsenal on loan for the season after making one appearance for the Blues as a late substitute on the opening day of the season. He appeared for the North London side regularly, making 25 appearances and scoring 6 goals, before returning to Chelsea prior to 2012-13.

Remaining unwanted at Stamford Bridge under new permanent manager Roberto Di Matteo, Benayoun was once again loaned out ahead of the 2012-13 season, joining former club West Ham United on an initial six-month deal. He struggled to earn regular playing time at the Boleyn Ground though, and returned to Chelsea in the January transfer window to work under former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, who had replaced Di Matteo in November. He made thirteen appearances, often from the substitutes bench, and picked up a Europa League winners medal as a part of the victorious squad which beat Benfica.

In June 2013 it was announced that Yossi was to be released upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract.

International

Benayoun was a member of the Israel U16 team that came third in the 1996 UEFA European Under-16 Championship and made his senior debut for Israeli against Portugal in a friendly on 18 November 1998 at the age of 18. He has subsequently established himself as a leading player for Israel, and was made captain of the national side in 2008.

Statistics

Season Club Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2010-11 Chelsea 7 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 10 1
2011-12 Chelsea 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2011-12 Arsenal (loan) 19 4 0 0 3 1 3 1 0 0 25 6
2012-13 West Ham United (loan) 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
2012-13 Chelsea 6 0 2 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 13 0
Total Chelsea 14 1 2 0 1 0 6 0 1 0 24 1
Total All clubs (including loans) 39 6 2 0 4 1 9 0 1 0 55 7

Goals

# Season Date Year Competition Opponent Score Result Venue
12010-1121 August2010Premier LeagueWigan Athletic6-06-0DW Stadium

Career honours

Maccabi Haifa
Chelsea

Individual

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