Benayoun rejoins Maccabi Haifa


Yossi Benayoun has signed a two-year deal with Maccabi Haifa worth $1 million.

The 34-year-old Israeli midfielder left Haifa in 2002 for a European career with Racing Santander in Spain and then nine years in England from 2005 with West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and QPR.

Benayoun rejoins a team than finished fifth last season and failed to qualify for Europe, but will be boosted by moving into the newly built 31,000 seat Sammy Ofer Stadium in August.

Benayoun said: "I'm really glad to be wearing green again and I believe we will bring back the glory days to Haifa."

After helping QPR regain Premier League status, Benayoun explained why he turned down other offers to stay in England or more to America.

"I was in two minds about coming home to Israel," he said. "I was in talks with new MLS franchise Orlando and had they offered me a two-year contract I would have gone for it.

"I had other offers in Israel, but Haifa always had first refusal. I'm a bit fearful about playing in Israel again, but I've really missed the Haifa fans and I'm sure it'll work out fine."

Haifa has also offered Benayoun a coaching role when he decides to hang up his boots.

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