Analysis: The return of the legionnaires and the impact on Israeli soccer landscape

Lost in the aftermath on Eran Zahavi’s heroics in recent games of the Champions League’s qualification rounds is the fact that Zahavi spent a brief and disappointing sojourn in Palermo as a legionnaire several years ago.

Still, the rigors and adversity of his 18-month Sicilian experience elevated his game to a much higher level, to the point that he has now earned his place alongside Israeli soccer’s all-time greats.

There is an old biblical axiom – “ Veshavu Banim Ligvulam ,” translated as “And your children shall return to their borders,” referring to the joy which accompanies the return of Israeli warriors and other migrants to their homeland. Such a sentiment could readily apply to the recent wave of Israeli soccer legionnaires who have made their way home.


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